Peterborough workplaces emptying through October

People in Peterborough began avoiding workplaces towards the end of October as the second wave of Covid-19 took hold across the UK, new figures from Google suggest.

By Andy Hubbert
Saturday, 28th November 2020, 5:07 pm
Less and less people have been travelling to workplaces in Peterborough in the run up to lockdown. EMN-200511-144214001
Less and less people have been travelling to workplaces in Peterborough in the run up to lockdown. EMN-200511-144214001

The Institute of Directors warns recent restrictions to limit the spread of the virus mean many UK businesses will remain vulnerable without more help.

Google uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people’s movement in different areas of their daily lives, including where they work.

Workplace activity in Peterborough in the working week to October 30 was 36 per cent lower than during a five-week baseline period at the start of the year, the latest report shows.

This was the lowest figure for any working week during the month, and down from 24.6 per cent below normal levels in the five days to October 23.

Movement in workplaces across the UK was 44 per cent below normal in the most recent week’s data – down from 35 per cent the previous week.

It was also the third drop in a row, from 33 per cent down in the week to October 9 – the closest it has been to normal since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a strict lockdown on March 23.

People were advised to work from home wherever possible in October as the pandemic began to grip the UK once more.

As cases continued to rise, Boris Johnson introduced a three-tiered system of local Covid-19 alerts levels to be imposed depending of the prevalence of the virus, which came into force on October 14.

Tej Parikh, the Institute of Directors’ chief economist, said recent restrictions across the UK had already dampened consumer spending and hit firms’ supply chains.

He added: “Many businesses are still carrying wounds from the first lockdown and remain vulnerable to harsher measures, particularly without further government support.

“The challenging conditions for firms will also leave some workers anxious about what may lie ahead in the winter months, with many households likely to try building up precautionary savings.”

After announcing a second full lockdown in England to begin on November 5, the Government extended its job support scheme so furloughed employees will get 80 per cent of their wage for hours not worked, capped at £2,500.

It had been due to end on October 31 but will now run throughout November.

But this comes as Sainsbury’s announce it is to close 450 of its stand alone Argos stores and permanently close its meat, fish and deli counters, putting 3,500 jobs at risk, although as many as possible are proposed to be redeployed elsewhere.