New mobility data released by Google indicates less people are staying at home in Brighton during the third lockdown compared to the first. 

The tech giant is using location data gathered from phones to help public health officials understand how people’s movements have changed during the global pandemic.

The reports use data from people who have opted in to storing their location history with Google to help illustrate the degree to which people are adhering to government instructions.

The data tracks people's movement in the home, retail and recreation establishments, grocery stores, pharmacies, public transport hubs, parks and green spaces.

The Argus: A quiet Western Road in Brighton during the second lockdown in November A quiet Western Road in Brighton during the second lockdown in November

By comparing the data to before the pandemic hit in February 2020, you can see an increase or decrease in time spent at those locations.

We looked at Brighton's figures for the first Saturday of each of the three lockdowns, to see how much people are sticking to the rules. 

The data below shows a decrease in movement in the majority of locations during all three lockdowns in March 2020, November 2020 and January 2021. 

Lockdown behaviour in Brighton & Hove

The exception is the amount of time spent at home, with people in Brighton spending 30 per cent more time at home in the first lockdown, compared to the year before. 

During the November lockdown - where restrictions were less strict and schools remained open - the increase was lower, dropping to 19 per cent. 

The third wave of restrictions, introduced on January 6, saw a 23 per cent increase of people staying at home compared to pre-pandemic levels.

This is seven per cent lower than the first lockdown, despite the stay-at-home message remaining the same. 

This rise could be due to the numbers of people continuing to go to work - with the list of keyworkers much greater than the first lockdown and other professions such as estate agents allowed to continue as normal with social distancing measures in place. 

Compared to March, there are more retail sites open, such as garden centres, and nurseries remain open for pre-school children, which could explain the increase of time spent in the workplace.

In this third lockdown fewer people have visited supermarkets and pharmacies. 

The Argus: A police officer makes sure people are following the rules in Brighton during the first lockdown in April 2020A police officer makes sure people are following the rules in Brighton during the first lockdown in April 2020

Retail and recreation visits in the city remain low, along with public transport trips. 

Visits to the workplace are also much lower than normal levels, as people continue to work from home.

During the first lockdown this dropped to -64 per cent when all offices were closed.

This rose slightly in November once people returned to work to -49 per cent and now it has gone back down to -57 per cent. 

Data comes from Google account users who opted-in to its location history service.

Statistics are based on a baseline value for that day of the week.

The baseline used is the average for the corresponding day of the week during the five-week period January 3 to February 6, 2020.

The Argus: This interactive chart shows how the number of visitors (or time spent) in categorized places has changed This interactive chart shows how the number of visitors (or time spent) in categorized places has changed

A brief overview of the three lockdowns:

March 23, 2020: The first national lockdown was announced, with people only allowed out for food shopping, exercise, some work and medical needs. Non-essential retail closed and events including weddings were cancelled. 

June 1, 2020: Lockdown measures are eased, with schoolchildren in England in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 returning to the classroom. Outdoor markets and car showrooms could open and elite sport events could begin from behind closed doors.

October 31, 2020: A second national lockdown was imposed in England, closing hospitality and non-essential shops, though schools remained open.

December 2, 2020: England’s national lockdown comes to an end and is replaced by a strengthened three-tier system.

January 5, 2021: England heads into a third national lockdown, which sees the continued closure of hospitality and non-essential retail, while closing schools. 

What are the current lockdown rules?

People in England must stay at home and only go out for "a reasonable excuse".

You are not allowed to leave home to meet people socially if you don't live together, or have a support bubble with them.

A new £800 fine for attending house parties of more than 15 people has been announced. It will double for each additional offence - up to £6,400.

Organisers will be fined £10,000.

What's a "reasonable excuse" for leaving home?

  • Shopping for essentials such as food and medicine
  • Meeting your support or childcare bubble
  • Children can move between separated parents
  • Working where it is "unreasonable" to work from home, for example nannies, cleaners and tradespeople
  • Education, training, childcare, medical appointments and emergencies
  • Religious worship
  • Moving house
  • Exercise

You can exercise with one person from another household in an open public space. You should stay two metres apart from each other.

If you do leave home for one of these reasons, you should stay local - unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work.

Travel - internationally or around the UK - is only allowed if it is essential.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

When will lockdown end?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government is still a “long, long, long way off” being able to lift lockdown restrictions in England.

Three quarter of people over the age of 80 have now been vaccinated with Mr Hancock saying the vaccination programme was making “brilliant progress”.

Despite saying there was clear evidence to suggest lockdown restrictions were working the health secretary said that case numbers were still “incredibly high”.

“There is early evidence that the lockdown is starting to bring cases down but we are a long, long, long way from being low enough because the case rate was incredibly high,” he told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme.

“You can see the pressure on the NHS – you can see it every day.”