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New interactive tool breaks down Wales’ lockdown impact by area

24 Nov 2020 3 minute read
Data from the interactive tool

A new interactive tool has been launched allowing people to see the impact of the lockdown restrictions across Wales’ counties by area.

The tool, which can be accessed here, allows data from Welsh local authorities to be easily compared with each other and with the UK as a whole.

The firebreak lockdown in Wales led to a steep drop in mobility across the country, according to the analysis of Google Mobility data by Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre.

The data suggests that the Welsh Government’s different lockdown decisions were broadly being adhered to by people in Wales.

This casts doubt on the idea that people in Wales were “confused” by having different Covid-19 rules to other UK nations, they said.

The data indicate that the Welsh firebreak lockdown, in particular, had a significant impact on people’s mobility as intended, decreasing visits to retail and recreational spaces, workplaces, and national parks, while increasing time spent in residential settings.

In contrast, the previous local lockdowns had less of an impact on mobility in the affected local authorities, suggesting either that a nationwide approach is more effective or that the localised restrictions were not as stringent.

The designer of the interactive tool, Cian Siôn, said that the data clearly shows that the firebreak lockdown in Wales had the intended effect of ensuring that people spent more time at home.

“The localised lockdowns introduced in September and October appear to have had far less of an impact on people’s movements, particularly because the restrictions were different and not as strict as those implemented during the firebreak,” he said.

“These trends indicate the major impact devolved policies are having on people’s lives, especially in the context of recent divergences in policy across the nations of the UK.

“This data has been made publicly available by Google and our comparison tool allows users to easily compare mobility within Wales for the first time. Improving accessibility to data on Covid-19 and the Welsh economy is a key objective of our research programme.”



The data also show that visits to retail and recreation locations in Wales bounced back more quickly in July and August compared to the rest of the UK as Welsh restrictions eased.

Similarly, visits to cafes, restaurants, and shops have recovered quickly following the firebreak lockdown, while levels in England remain depressed over the period of its own national lockdown.

The data shows that:

  • As of last week, visits to Retail and Recreation locations in Wales remain 20% lower than their pre-Covid level. This suggests that firebreak lockdowns are an effective way of quickly driving down Retail and Recreation visits.
  • The data infers that during May, visits to Parks in England skyrocketed once the “Stay at Home” rule was lifted by the UK Government. Similarly, visits to Parks in Wales increased rapidly once the so-called “Stay Local” rule was lifted in early July; although visits to Parks in Wales had already returned to pre-Covid levels while the rule was in place.
  • Mobility in the more rural local authorities in Wales – notably Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Powys – was far higher during the summer than urban and valleys local authorities, in relative terms.

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