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Every state has started to reopen, but smartphone data suggests people are still reluctant to go out


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All 50 states have started to reopen following COVID-19 shutdowns, with most restrictions on stores and restaurants being gradually lifted.
But phone location data shows that people across the US are moving around less than usual, a sign that consumers might still be wary about shopping amid the pandemic.
Even in major cities where car traffic has returned to normal, people are walking and taking public transit far less than usual, according to aggregate mobility data provided by Apple.
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All 50 states have started to reopen following COVID-19 shutdowns — but that doesn’t mean consumers are going back to business as usual.

Location data gathered from Americans’ smartphones suggests that, even in states that have been reopened for weeks, people are not leaving home and moving around as much as they were pre-COVID.

According to data from Apple, which compiles mobility trends using anonymized GPS data from people’s iPhones, mobility is still below the typical baseline in most states. Even in states where driving traffic has returned to normal, the number of people walking around and using public transit remains low.

There are several plausible reasons that mobility remains low even as states reopen. Above all, the pandemic is far from over in the US, which recorded an all-time high number of new cases Wednesday. And even as states allow businesses to reopen, many offices are still letting employees work remotely.

Here’s a breakdown of how people are moving around in the US, according to Apple’s data.

Across the US, driving traffic has largely returned to normal after a dip spanning March through June — but the number of people walking and taking public transit remains lower than usual.

However, the US is still far more mobile than several European counterparts, despite the fact that COVID-19 cases are rising more rapidly in the US.

That trend is borne out in most major cities. California reopened “low risk” businesses on May 8 and “higher risk” businesses on June 12, but people’s movement in Los Angeles remains muted compared to before COVID-19.

In San Francisco, driving, walking, and transit use have all remained significantly lower than pre-COVID levels.

San Francisco has maintained stricter shutdown requirements compared to other cities in California, but most businesses there have been allowed to reopen with social distancing in place.

New York City, which didn’t start allowing most nonessential businesses to reopen until this week, has seen lower mobility across the board — but car traffic has nearly returned to normal.

Not all cities have seen consistently lower movement. Atlanta allowed most businesses to start reopening with social distancing measures in May. Since then, walking and driving have returned to normal levels.

Atlanta businesses started to reopen May 22. Meanwhile, cases in Georgia have started to spike recently, with more than 1,000 new cases per day in the past four days.

Houston has also seen a return to normal among walking and driving traffic after Texas’ stay-at-home order expired May 1. But cases have begun to spike across the …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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