Dundee residents are complying with government advice and are staying home during the coronavirus lockdown, research has revealed.
New data gathered by Google from mobile phone signals shows there has been an 80% drop in people going out and about for recreation and retail reasons in the city since the lockdown came into force four weeks ago.
The data also shows a drop of 55% on workplace mobility and a 48% drop in people going out for groceries and pharmacy shopping.
With this drastic change in Dundee’s social habits Alison Henderson, chief executive of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, said it’s vital businesses are supported to make sure they are able to survive this lockdown.
She said: “Even with this really nice weather we are not seeing people flouting the lockdown rules and guidance.
“Lots of people have adapted to the lockdown really quickly, but there are still lots of people who are not yet set up for selling and trading online, and it is a real challenge for those who don’t have these digital skills.
“Businesses really need to make sure they are getting all the support they need, and have done everything they can to access this support.
“For example the job retention scheme has now opened and there are already a lot of successful claims – it is important businesses get this money before the end of the month so pay roll and other key accounts can be paid.
“We are looking at the future and thinking about how we all bounce back from this, particularly as it is unlikely everyone will come out of the lockdown at the same time.”
Meanwhile Councillor Fraser MacPherson, who represents the West End ward, shares the chamber’s concerns about the impact on local businesses, particularly the retail sector.
He said: “Everyone appreciates this is a very challenging time for local businesses, and it is important there is good support out there for them.
“We have a very vibrant shopping area, on Perth Road and Blackness Road for example, and we must ensure they have the support they need to be able to survive and bounce back from the current health emergency.”
The Google data also shows there has been a 73% dip in people taking public transport in Dundee during the lockdown.
Despite this, Xplore Dundee is continuing to work through the lockdown to make sure key workers are able to get to and from their jobs.
A spokeswoman for the operator said: “Xplore Dundee is keeping essential workers moving during the Covid-19 lockdown – principally those in hospitals, supermarkets and other frontline services.
“However, we have seen passenger numbers fall by around 83%, as the general public is being asked to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel.
“We’re still operating around 30% of our services for those key workers who still need to use public transport and we’re encouraging social distancing measures, as advised by the government.
“We’re asking customers to spread out around the bus as much as possible, staying a minimum of two metres apart from the driver and other passengers.”