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COVID-19: Christmas Eve footfall drops over 30% in central London amid fears about Omicron spread, new data shows | UK News

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Central London saw the biggest drop in footfall of anywhere in the country as concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant kept shoppers at home.

The number of shoppers in the capital was 30.3% lower on the morning of Christmas Eve than it was on the previous Friday, new data from Springboard has shown.

A similar trend was observed in city centres across the country, with visitor numbers falling by 10% compared to the week before.

Christmas Eve shoppers walk past festive decorations in Knightsbridge, London, as the government refused to rule out introducing further restrictions to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus Picture date: Friday December 24, 2021.

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Footfall in London is over a fifth lower than it was on Christmas Eve in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

However, increased activity at other sites including shopping centres, retail parks and market towns meant there was an increase in overall retail footfall on the morning of Christmas Eve.

Retail parks saw nearly 24% more shoppers, which Springboard says can in part be put down to trips for food and grocery products ahead of Christmas celebrations.

“However, since the start of COVID, retail parks have consistently been more resilient in retaining shoppers as they are large open spaces, with large stores which make shoppers feel safer and less nervous,” they said.

The data, particularly that from London, demonstrates the impact of the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, which is prevalent in the capital.

Fewer restrictions have meant that footfall in central London is 42% higher this year than it was in 2020.

Despite this, visitor numbers are over a fifth lower than they were on Christmas Eve in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

However, Springboard figures show that retail is recovering, with overall footfall up by 30% compared to last year.

https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-christmas-eve-footfall-drops-over-30-in-central-london-amid-fears-about-omicron-spread-new-data-shows-12503589