NEW data shows that people across Worcestershire are obeying the lockdown rules, with visitor numbers to the county’s shops and restaurants, supermarkets, train stations and offices plummeting.

Footfall data compiled by Google shows the huge drops in numbers for Worcestershire businesses with retail taking the biggest hit – down by a huge 86 per cent in the last month.

The county’s bus and train stations also saw a huge drop of 71 per cent over the same period.

The data reports published by Google plot movement in certain areas across the county including shops, restaurants, pubs and bars; supermarkets; train and bus stations; parks; residential areas and workplaces.

Worcester’s MP Robin Walker said businesses would be hit by the government’s social isolation measures but the drop in the figures showed they had been a success.

Mr Walker said: “Unfortunately, there will be a massive hit to the High Street. I think that’s part of the reason why it was really important that we had things like the furlough scheme to protect people who work in that environment and try and make sure they can come back from temporary lockdown.

“But this does show that the social distancing policies have been a success and they have actually allowed people to be mixing less in these areas. It’s a difficult balance that we are really having to strike at the moment.”

Google compared the figures collected between February 16 and March 29 – which obviously includes March 23 when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the government’s strictest measures yet – with the median figures for between January 3 and February 6.

Cllr Marc Bayliss, leader of the city council, said society was facing “very difficult times” but he was pleased the government was helping small businesses to survive.

He said: “The coronavirus is hitting all parts of society and the economy and the High Street are parts of that.

“I’m glad to see the government has put some money into supporting small businesses and hopefully, through the furloughing scheme and the business rates and the grants, it will help businesses to survive. These are very difficult times.

“I think that most businesses can survive for a period of time but that is not infinite. We need to be able to get going again as quickly as it is safely possible but human safety must come first. That is why doing what we can is so important.

Cllr Adrian Gregson, deputy leader of the city council, said the figures showed that social isolation measures were getting through but as much support for businesses as possible would be needed.

He said: “The main message is that you should follow government guidelines of only going when you need to, whether that is work or essential shopping, and keeping your distance. It sounds as though those messages are getting through locally.

“The downside of all of that, of course, is that it is really affecting business on a major scale.

“The city council has been looking at how to process business grants through to people who can identify at this moment that they are suffering.

“Although it is good for the health of the nation, it’s obviously damaging, and we need to look at how we can support those people.”

Cllr Louis Stephen, leader of the council’s Green group, said: “This data shows that most people are taking the coronavirus pandemic very seriously.

“We all have our part to play in reducing the chance of spreading the virus - for some vulnerable people this is case of life or death.

“I hope that the current social distancing and hand washing measures introduced will reduce the number of infections to a level our hospital can cope with. It’s times like these that a spotlight is shone on the really essential workers keeping us safe.

“Thank you to every NHS worker, carer, food retailer and refuse collector - you are all heroes.”