Regardless of government COVID-19 coronavirus directives, Apple data shows shelter-in-place is ending and re-opening is underway.
Apple’s Mobility Trends report shows that traffic in the US and other countries like Germany has pretty much doubled in the past three weeks. It had been down up to 72%. And location data provider Foursquare says that gas and fast food visits are back to pre-COVID-19 levels in the American Midwest.
Mobility Trends (Change in routing requests since January 13, 2020)
Whether governments, medical professionals, and scientists want it to or not, people seem tired of the shutdown and eager to get back to some semblance of normal life.
While the Apple data is measured by people searching Apple Maps for directions, the Foursquare data is captured by people actually visiting locations. 13 million Americans have granted the company permission to capture their data and use it in privacy-safe ways.
Interestingly, as Apple’s data from Canada shows, while driving and walking are edging back up to normal levels, people are avoiding transit, which is still down 79% from pre-Coronavirus levels. Driving by yourself is safe, apparently, but sitting in a bus or on a train with hundreds of others is not.
For some categories, the last week has produced the most substantial changes since foot traffic bottomed out around the end of March. Most notably:
Fast food and gas station visits have returned to pre-COVID-19 levels in the Midwest, and in rural areas across the nation. Though still below ‘normal’, visits in suburban and urban areas have shown substantial growth (>15%) since their end of March lows. Even casual dining restaurants are starting to show recent upticks, likely driven by new delivery and curbside options.
Men — and generally people between the ages of 35-64 — have shown more moderate declines across different types of places, and are also showing greater propensity to return
Visits to wireless carrier stores like AT&T and Verizon have increased very slightly since mid-April, down only 33% nationally as of April (versus 34-39% in the weeks prior).
MacDailyNews Take: Clearly, shelter-in-place cannot last forever. The CDC’s “Get and Keep America Open” resources on COVID-19 infection prevention and control, laboratory capacity, community mitigation, surveillance and data analytics, contact tracing, and staffing are here.