What happened in each province after the lockdown

Google’s latest COVID-19 Community Mobility Report shows that many South Africans have continued to obey movement restrictions under the coronavirus lockdown.

The report shows how the visits and lengths of stays at different places in many countries have changed in a period where multiple governments have implemented lockdowns.

Google compiles the report by using its aggregated and anonymised location data from apps like Google Maps.

Changes for each day are compared to a baseline value for that day of the week. This value is the median value for the corresponding day of the week during a 5-week period between 3 January and 6 February 2020.

Big decline in travel

Google’s first report showed a massive decline in visits to retailers, transit stations, workplaces, and other public areas in South Africa at the start of the lockdown on 27 March.

The most recent data shows visits to restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, theme parks, museums, libraries, and movie theatres remain down by 75%.

Travel to workplaces and offices showed 56% less activity, while visits to public transport hubs such as bus and train stations were down 78%.

Comparing the latest figures with the two previous reports showed that mobility trends remained largely the same across most categories.

Grocery stores and pharmacies saw a slight increase in activity, while retail and recreation visits have remained very low.

Weekly national mobility trends
Category 29 March 5 April 11 April
Retail and recreation -79% -76% -75%
Grocery and pharmacy -60% -51% -46%
Parks -55% -53% -58%
Transit stations -80% -78% -78%
Workplace -49% -44% -56%
Residential +24% +22% +24%

Provincial breakdown

Google also provided data for each of South Africa’s provinces in its latest update.

The Western and Eastern Cape saw the biggest percentage decline in visits to retail and recreation spots.

Google’s data also showed the Western Cape had the biggest drop in activities at transit stations and workplaces, as well as the biggest increase in residential activity.

It should be noted that certain differences could be due to the fact that select provinces have a higher number of locations within specific categories.

For example, the 23% and 34% decreases in activity at parks in Limpopo and Mpumalanga could be attributed to these provinces having game reserves where employees are staying during the lockdown.

Provincial mobility trends
Province Retail and recreation Grocery and pharmacy Parks Transit stations Workplaces Residential
Gauteng -74% -45% -65% -79% -58% +27%
Western Cape -80% -50% -85% -83% -62% +28%
KwaZulu-Natal -77% -49% -46% -81% -56% +27%
Free State -77% -44% -52% -69% -47% +23%
Mpumalanga -71% -40% -34% -61% -45% +24%
North West -74% -46% -47% -63% -49% +25%
Limpopo -70% -53% -23% -67% -49% +25%
Eastern Cape -80% -49% -39% -79% -53% +24%
Northern Cape -76% -49% -51% -82%* -41% +22%

*Google said it did not have enough data for transit station activity in the Northern Cape to provide a complete analysis for the province.


National mobility trends

Graphs showing the latest South African mobility trends across each location category as of 11 April 2020 are below.


Retail and recreation -75%

Mobility trends for places like restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, theme parks, museums, libraries, and movie theatres.

Grocery and Pharmacy 11 April


Grocery and pharmacy -46%

Mobility trends for places like grocery stores, food warehouses, farmers markets, speciality food shops, drug stores, and pharmacies.

Retail and Recreation 11 April


Parks -58%

Mobility trends for places like national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens.

Parks 11 April


Transit stations -78%

Mobility trends for places like public transport hubs such as subway, bus, and train stations.


Workplaces -56%

Mobility trends for places of work.

Workplaces 11 April


Residential +27%

Mobility trends for places of residence.

Residential 11 April


Now read: Interesting coronavirus stats for South Africa

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What happened in each province after the lockdown