People returning to shops, pubs and cafes in Northumberland

People in Northumberland flocked back to shops, pubs and cafes as lockdown restrictions eased in England, figures show.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 7:00 am
People flocked back to pubs, restaurants and shops in Northumberland.

Location data from Google revealed that non-essential retail and recreation venues were much busier on April 17, than the previous Saturday – though they were still far from reaching pre-pandemic levels.

The British Retail Consortium said it hopes that with Covid-19 cases dropping, shoppers will feel more confident heading out.

The figures show average activity in Northumberland's hospitality venues and non-essential shops was 24 per cent lower on April 17 than pre-pandemic levels, recorded during a five-week period early in 2020.

But that was higher than on Saturday, April 10, when activity was 46 per cent below normal.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC, said: “While footfall at shopping destinations was significantly up in the first week of reopening, compared to the week prior, it still remains below pre-pandemic levels.

"Monday was by far the best day for retailers in England and Wales, as the novelty of shopping at non-essential stores helped footfall to its highest levels in months."

Pubs, cafes and restaurants in England are currently only allowed to seat customers outdoors, meaning re-opening was unviable or not possible for many businesses.

The restrictions are due to be reviewed soon and it is hoped that venues will be able to welcome guests indoors from May 17.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "Only when all our pubs can fully re-open as normal will they be viable businesses and in the green once more."

The figures also show that more people used public transport.

Activity across Northumberland's transport hubs was 13 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, compared to 35 per cent down the week before.