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Google data shows how British Columbians have reacted to COVID-19 measures
VANCOUVER -- New data released by Google shows just how much British Columbians have stopped going to work, shops and transit stations, replacing those trips with staying home and visiting local parks.
The data shows how behaviour changed quickly between March 8 and March 29, when health officials began stressing the need to stay home as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and began ordering some businesses to close or restrict operations.
In B.C., visits to workplaces are down 47 per cent compared to a baseline developed by the company, while visits to parks are up 27 per cent and being at home rose 13 per cent.
Compared to national data, British Columbians are going to parks much more often than people in some other provinces, where visits to parks have dropped along with trips to the workplace, to retail and recreation spots and to transit stations.
For instance, in Alberta visits to parks have dropped by 23 per cent, while staying at home rose 13 per cent. In Ontario, visits to parks fell by 14 per cent, while staying home increased by 14 per cent.
Park visits also increased in Saskatchewan (up 45 per cent), New Brunswick (up 101 per cent) and Nova Scotia (up 95 per cent).
When it comes to avoiding the workplace, British Columbia (down 47 per cent), Ontario (down 46 per cent) and Quebec (down 45 per cent) lead the country in not going to the office.
Nationally, Canadians are going to retail and recreation spots 59 per cent less; to grocery and pharmacy stores 35 per cent less; to parks 16 per cent less; to transit stations 66 per cent less; and to workplaces 44 per cent less. But staying home has increased by 14 per cent.
Google has released location data for a range of countries in an attempt to give officials more insight about how people are reacting to public health messages about containing COVID-19, a global pandemic that has affected trade and travel around the world.