• Adele Groyer

Freedom Day: what the UK did next

On 19 July, England moved to Step 4 of the roadmap - lifting most of the legal restrictions around social distancing.


UK Government said "while many of the legal restrictions that the Government has imposed through the pandemic will be lifted, cautious guidance will remain, making it clear this is not yet a return to normal. While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious".


Using Google's Covid-19 Community Mobility Report data, we can see that the public did indeed exercise caution in the first week after Step 4 was taken.


There was a small uptick in presence at "Retail & Recreation" facilities such as restaurants, shopping centres, theme parks, museums and cinemas.

At the weekend, people took advantage of the warm, sunny weather and spent time outdoors in "Parks" which includes places like public parks and beaches.

With no evidence of an increase in indoor socialising in the week following "freedom day" it is perhaps unsurprising that concerns about an immediate step-up in infections have been, to date, unfounded.


This data will remain of interest in the weeks and months ahead as schools return, workplaces take steps towards pre-pandemic norms, and we experience the vagaries of the British weather.

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