North East life edging back to pre-pandemic normality
Everyday life in the North East inched nearer to normality during the summer, new data suggests.
Despite coronavirus restrictions being lifted on July 19, the number of shoppers, public transport users and people returning to workplaces all remained below the levels seen before the crisis.
Only the use of parks and public spaces and food shopping increased, according to Google location data from phones and other personal devices which track trends in people's movement during their daily lives.
The data for July to September in Tyne and Wear shows:
*Activity at retail and recreation centres was 13% below normal levels.
*In supermarkets and grocery stores, it was up by four per cent.
*The use if parks and public spaces was 20% above pre-pandemic levels.
*Public transport use was down 33%.
*Workplace activity was down by 28%.
Average activity across a range of categories was 10% below normal levels between July and September – up from last summer, when footfall was 17% below the baseline.
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at accounting company KPMG, said: "Following a period of extensive lockdown, there was certainly pent-up demand from consumers to get out and into stores to enjoy the physical shopping experience they had missed.
He said the Euro 2020 football tournament and hot weather in July gave customers plenty of opportunities to celebrate and spend money.
The British Retail Consortium said its figures show footfall in high streets, retail parks and shopping centres rose from July to August, but was still below normal.