It may feel like everyone's out and about in level 3 - but according to the latest data from Google, things aren't back to normal.

The latest mobility data from the internet giant shows that while New Zealanders started moving around more in the first week out of lockdown, it was still much quieter than before the coronavirus crisis began in February.

On April 29, the first day of level 3, New Zealanders clogged fast food drive-thrus and hordes of people thronged Auckland's beaches, leading to fears of a coronavirus resurgence.

But while Google's data shows a definite uptick in park, beach and workplace visits, the numbers were still well down from a "baseline" by May 2 - the first Saturday out of lockdown.

Advertisement

READ MORE
What will life look like under alert level 2?
PM set to make big call - but are many already living level 2 life?
Swamped: Police fear mayhem on streets, crowded bars in level 2
Why are Australians not catching virus at hairdressers or supermarket?

People were warned yesterday not to get complacent given level 2 was just around the corner.

Police recorded about 300 breaches of level 3 rules on Saturday.

At about 1pm today, a man driving through Auckland's Newmarket saw crowds outside Sun World Restaurant clearly to keeping to the social distancing rules while waiting for their takeaways.

"This is the second time today I'm seeing this, and the first time there were at least 10 more people standing close to each other," said the man who wanted to be known only as Roy.

"I am concerned because these people are not keeping to the rules, and their apathy or ignorance could put us back into level 4 and affect people's livelihoods."

Sunny weather had surfers flocking to Wellington's Lyall Bay and crowds of people at Auckland's beaches, with reports people were not following physical distancing rules.

But a Herald photographer at the scene on Tamaki Drive in Auckland late this morning said the area was not particularly busy.

Advertisement

"I've seen it busier. There are people out exercising, paddleboarding but it's not mental."

Swimmers braved the cold at Kohimarama Beach east of Auckland's CBD this morning. Photo / Alex Burton
Swimmers braved the cold at Kohimarama Beach east of Auckland's CBD this morning. Photo / Alex Burton
Subscribe to Premium

Under level 3 rules people are allowed to drive to parks and beaches within their region, as long as they are following social distancing rules, stick to the nearest option and don't do anything dangerous.

By May 2, Google's data said there were 56 per cent fewer people heading out to the beach or park, compared to the baseline. By comparison, in the first week of lockdown such visits were down 78 per cent.

Visits to public spaces like parks and beaches were still well below the baseline on the first Saturday out of lockdown. Image / Google
Visits to public spaces like parks and beaches were still well below the baseline on the first Saturday out of lockdown. Image / Google

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Visits to transport hubs, such as bus and train stations, were down 84 per cent in the first week of lockdown and by May 2 that was still down 65 per cent.

Travel to workplaces has been steadily trending upward since the lockdown lifted, but by May 2 they were still down 34 per cent on the baseline.

Advertisement
Travel to workplaces has been increasing but by May 2 it was still a third lower than normal. Image / Google
Travel to workplaces has been increasing but by May 2 it was still a third lower than normal. Image / Google

The data also gives a snapshot of which parts of the country are physically returning to work and who's still working from home, or not at all.

In Auckland workplace visits were still down 37 per cent by May 2, and in Wellington they were down 40 per cent. Canterbury was down 34 per cent and in Otago workplace visits were down 45 per cent.

But in the Bay of Plenty workplace visits were just 25 per cent below pre-lockdown levels, while in Gisborne it was 16 per cent.

Visits to places like restaurants, museums and libraries are still more than 80 per cent down on pre-Covid-19 levels - unsurprisingly given most of them are closed.

The mobility reports are generated from devices of people whose device has its location history setting turned on, so may not exactly represent the population's movements.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says New Zealand is still on track for a move to level 2, with no cases of recent community transmission and a vast improvement in contact tracing.

State highway monitoring by the NZ Transport Agency also shows an uptick in traffic but not to pre-Covid-19 levels.

Advertisement

An NZTA report for the week to May 1 found that while traffic doubled in some areas since the lockdown ended, it was still much lower than the same time last year.

With just one day to go until Cabinet decides whether to move into the much more relaxed level 2, the number of cases is still looking promising.

Academics have cautioned that people without symptoms could still be spreading the virus in the community, but as yet there's not evidence of that happening.

In the past seven days there have been nine new cases of Covid-19 found, including confirmed and probable cases. All appear to be linked to previous known cases, rather than hidden community transmission.

It has been three weeks since the number of new cases in a day was higher than single digits.