While it’s true that the impact of COVID-19 has imposed some severe alterations in how we live and how our economy is working in recent months, the latest findings published in Google’s Community Mobility Report manages to shed some light on these changes and reflect the ongoing trends in Kerry.
The survey took place over a six-week period between September 15 and October 27 when the country was largely under level two/three restrictions.
It reveals that visits to parks in Kerry rose by 13 per cent during this period – compared to the baseline average – reinforcing the fact that people are involved in more outdoor activity during COVID times to try to combat social isolation.
The hit to retail and recreational pursuits was also obvious. The report shows a 38-per-cent drop in footfall during the six-week period in areas such as shopping centres, restaurants, cafés, libraries and cinemas. Meanwhile, visits to supermarkets and pharmacies in Kerry rose by five per cent.
Changing practices in workplace attendance equally tally with the current circumstances.
The Community Mobility Report detected a 42-per-cent decline in people using their place of work, while use of public transport is also down 52 per cent.
The report states that location accuracy and the understanding of categorised places varies from region to region.
This means it does not recommend we use the data to compare changes between, for example, countries, or between regions with different characteristics, such as rural versus urban areas.
The data is calculated using the same measures used to show popular times for places in Google Maps by people who use their ‘Location History’ setting.
The figures reflect Kerry’s ongoing battle to cope economically and socially as the virus alters how we live, work, and socialise.
The challenges for the county remain obvious since Kerry County Council released its economic impact report in May.
This report revealed the detrimental scale of decline in the economy and tourism, and gives a measure of the scale of recovery required in the coming years.
The KCC report cited income from tourism alone as being down by 70 per cent, with job losses in the sector expected to be 56-per-cent down on previous years, even allowing for the partial recovery in Q3.
Retail and Kerry’s commercial sectors also remain under pressure, with the burden of a second lock-down (until December 1) hitting business in the run up to Christmas. But anticipation is now rising that a sharp influx in trade will take place between now and Christmas through a combination of online, click-and-collect sales, and footfall on the high-street.
Local Chamber Alliance groups are encouraging shoppers to support local and purchase gift vouchers. With restaurant trade also being curtailed, people are encouraged to order food online for takeaway. Kerry is certain to reflect further changes in the weeks and months to come as it deals with COVID’s social restrictions.