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Smartphone data suggests Wyoming residents at home or parks over retail, workplaces

Traffic on Eighth Avenue Cheyenne during rush hour has become observably light over the past couple of weeks (John Roedel, Cap City)

CASPER, Wyo. – Tech giant Google is publishing mobility reports, which give a glimpse at people’s activities during the coronavirus pandemic.

The data maps break down results in each state. Data from other countries is also available.

“Google prepared this report to help you and public health officials understand responses to social distancing guidance related to COVID-19,” said Google on its mobility map.

The latest map for Wyoming and surrounding states contains data up through March 29. The maps will be routinely updated, according to Google.


The most striking statistic is retail and recreation, which shows a decline of 37 percent. The category includes restaurants, cafes, libraries and movie theaters along with shopping centers and other places of retail.

Smartphone data compiled by Google shows visits to retail and recreation centers fell sharply. It also shows grocery and pharmacy visits spiked in mid-March before settling back down. (Google)

Grocery and pharmacy is down 13 percent, though the graph shows a spike upward starting after March 8, shortly before coronavirus entered the state. The graph shows a gradual decline of grocery and pharmacy activity through the end of March.

Workplace visits are down 29 percent.

Conversely, park visits are up by 29 percent. The category includes national and public parks, gardens, plazas and dog parks.


Residential is up by just 8 percent.

Visits to parks has fluctuated wildly, but is overall up by 29 percent according to data from Google. (Google)

The data can be contrasted against neighboring states.

Montana shows a whopping 51 percent drop in visits to retail and recreation, but visits to parks is nearly identical to Wyoming’s with a 28 percent jump.

Colorado’s drop in retail and recreation matches Montana’s at 51 percent. Interestingly, visits to parks in Colorado dropped by 12 percent. Workplace visits dropped by 40 percent, and data shows a 13 percent rise in residential visits.


In Utah, retail and recreation fell by 41 percent, and park visits jumped by 26 percent.

Google explains some of the methods it used in tracking the data in a blog post.

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.