This was expected but it’s fascinating to see actual data. Google Mobility Data showed how residents of Metro Cebu rushed to Groceries and Pharmacies with visits hitting 19 percent higher than the baseline figures of January 2020.
It was the only time that visits to Groceries and Pharmacies – or to any location outside the home – in Metro Cebu exceeded the baseline. Other urban centers in the Philippines logged visits to groceries higher than the baseline several days in mid-December leading to Christmas Eve.
Mobility data in Metro Cebu
(The graph below is interactive. You can use the search field to drill down to specific locations)
On Dec. 23, data showed spikes in visits to Parks (which covers beaches) at just -7%, the highest since before our strict quarantine lockdowns. On the same day, visits to Retail and Recreation (which also covers restaurant visits) hit -14 percent, also the highest recovery since before lockdowns.
Visits to Workplaces, on the other hand, hit the highest recovery compared to baseline on Dec. 19 at -10%. That figure was the highest since before the strict lockdowns. What does it show? Does it indicate a rush to the office to get something in preparation for the long break? Or does it indicate people going to the office for Christmas gatherings?
Data for Residential locations, on the other hand, showed the highest percentage rise compared with baseline but not by much. It’s not a significant increase compared with recent months, even during the strict lockdowns.
The data is gathered from users of Google Maps. The changes are calculated by Google “using the same kind of aggregated and anonymized data used to show popular times for places in Google Maps.”
It was made available by Google to help inform governments and institutions in the fight against COVID-19.
Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu. He has written and edited for such publications as The Freeman, The Independent Post, Today, Sun.Star Cebu, Cebu Daily News, Philstar Life, and Rappler.
He is also a mobile app and web developer and co-founded InnoPub Media with his wife Marlen.
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