The number of people visiting groceries and pharmacies in Metro Cebu is now back to pre-COVID disruption level, according to the latest Community Mobility Report of Google.
More people are still staying at home while visits to retail and recreation areas, transit stations and workplaces remained in negative territory as of Oct. 19, 2021.
The Google report tracks movement trends based on users who turn on the Location setting in their devices, which is off by default.
It shows how the volume of visitors changes compared to baseline data, which is the median value from the five-week period Jan. 3 to Feb. 6, 2020, just before the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic caused economic and social disruption worldwide.
The Oct. 19 report for Metro Cebu showed that visits to groceries and pharmacies were flat (0%), indicating very minimal changes compared to mobility during the baseline days.
Community quarantine restrictions have been eased in the entire Cebu Province, which is now under COVID-19 Alert Level 2, and essential establishments like groceries and pharmacies may operate up to 100% of venue capacity.
Mobility for places of residence, which is measured in terms of duration instead of the number of visitors, was still higher than the pre-disruption level by 23%.
Visits to retail and recreation areas, parks, transit stations and workplaces were still below the baseline, at -21%, -14%, -51% and -30%, respectively.
These figures indicate that while restrictions have been eased, more people are still working from home compared to pre-disruption days. The government continues to recommend work-from-home and other flexible work schemes to minimize COVID-19 transmission.
Although department stores and malls are open, the decline in mobility in these facilities indicate that fewer people go shopping in physical stores.
For Central Visayas region, the number of people staying at home was still 20% higher than the baseline while visits to groceries and pharmacies edged up by 3%.
Mobility in other places monitored by Google was still down: retail and recreation (-20%), parks (-5%), transit stations (-46%) and workplaces (-27%).
In Metro Manila, considered the epicenter of the epidemic in the country, mobility was 22% higher for both places of residence, and groceries and pharmacies.
Despite the easing of some community quarantine restrictions, mobility was also down for retail and recreation (-26%), parks (-20%), transit stations (-49%) and workplaces (-34%).
Nationally, visits to groceries and pharmacies were up by 27% compared to the baseline while the number of people staying at home was 20% higher.
Visits to retail and recreation areas, transit stations and workplaces were still in negative territory, at -15%, -37% and -28%, respectively. Visits to parks are back to zero, or the baseline days.
COVID-19 cases are now on a downtrend, with all 17 regions posting negative two-week growth rates.
In Cebu City, infections peaked in mid-August and started to decline in the second half of the month. From a peak of 308 daily average in the seven-day period from Aug. 12 to 18, 2021, cases went down to 18 per day in the recent seven days from Oct. 17 to 23. (Ventures Cebu)