Fewer people are going to the office in Brighton and Hove since the government announced its “Plan B” measures to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised people to work from home from Monday 13 December in response to the rapid spread of the omicron strain.
Since then, according to Google location data, there has been a drop in workplace activity in Brighton and Hove.
In the working week to Friday 17 December footfall was 34.2 per cent lower than during a five-week baseline period before the coronavirus pandemic started.
The figures also suggest that more people are working from home in Brighton and Hove than in other parts of the country.
Across Britain, activity in workplaces was 29.6 per cent below normal in the week to Friday 17 December – the lowest level since the end of October.
The 34.2 per cent drop in Brighton and Hove footfall was greater than the 29.8 per cent “below normal” level in the previous working week – the five days to Friday 10 December.
And a month earlier the figure was 30.2 per cent below the baseline.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) said that this had had affected business and led to a drop in consumer demand at the “worst possible time” for some parts of the economy.
Alex Hall-Chen, senior policy adviser at the IoD, welcomed the government’s targeted support package for affected businesses but said it did not go far enough.
He added: “Business leaders crave certainty to enable them to plan and invest with confidence.
“Therefore, we are also looking to the Prime Minister to clear up the speculation about whether additional restrictions are going to be introduced in the days following Christmas.”
When the latest guidance was issued, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said that the government was right to advise those who can work from home to do so.
But it said that this should be reversed as soon as it was safe, adding that home-working brings significant economic cost by restricting trade for some businesses and affecting mental health.
The CBI said: “Some economic activity is displaced to local areas but it also leaves our town and city centres under real strain for retailers and hospitality.
“With the push for a booster rollout by the end of the year, the government should use the (Wednesday) 5 January review to identify a new regime, drawing on testing, covid-secure workplaces and antivirals, to outline its intention for ending the push to work from home.”