Sustained drop in visits to city centres suggests workers aren’t going back to the office


The number of people in city centres is still below pre-pandemic levels on weekdays, according to a report, which suggests some workers have not gone back to the office.

Footfall in the heart of cities has returned to normal on weekends but is still 25% lower on weekdays than it was before COVID-19, according to Centre for Cities.

In central London, footfall is only half of what it was before the pandemic, while in Glasgow’s city centre it was 64% and in Manchester’s city centre it was 73%.

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The study, which looked at 63 cities at the beginning of this month, found the number of people to be highest in Blackpool, Southend, Barnsley and Burnley.

Footfall has gone back to pre-COVID levels in only 11 of the cities, which are mostly in the North and Midlands.

“The stark gap between weekday and evening and weekend footfall suggests that most people are now willing to return to city centres for leisure purposes such as shopping or nightlife, but not for work,” the think tank said.

More from UK

A third of working adults surveyed from 20 to 31 October reported working from home

Figures from the Office for National Statistics previously found that a third of working adults are estimated to be working from home at least once a week.

Seven in 10 working adults surveyed at the end of October reported travelling to work at some point in the previous seven days.

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