Port Royal Park / PPL Walking

A family walks at Port Royal Park in Spring Hill.

A recent mobility report from Google shows that amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Williamson County residents are flocking to public parks in unprecedented numbers.

Using data collected from those with a Google Account and a smartphone, the report uses mobility data from the five-week period of Jan. 3-Feb. 6 as a baseline and compares it with mobility data from Feb. 29-April 11.

According to the report, Williamson County residents traveled to public parks 47% more in recent weeks than during the baseline period.

While that figure represents a significant increase in park visits, its neighboring counties, Davidson and Maury, saw a significant drop in park visits, with Davidson showing a 44% decrease in park visits, and Maury showing a 33% drop.

Averaging data from most of Tennessee’s 95 counties shows that across the state, Tennesseans visited parks 11% more in recent weeks than during the baseline period before the pandemic began. The United States as a whole saw an overall decrease in park visits by 16%.

Other mobility metrics

Looking at other mobility metrics, Williamson County mostly falls in line with the rest of the state, as well as the country.

Visits to retail and recreation facilities dropped in Williamson County by 51%, with Tennessee and the U.S. showing a 40% and 45% drop, respectively. Visits to grocery stores and pharmacies dropped in Williamson County by 8%, whereas Tennessee as a whole showed a slight uptick by 2%. The U.S. saw a drop of 7% in visits to grocery stores and pharmacies.

When it comes to the workplace, the report shows Williamson County residents traveled to work 37% less than during the baseline period.

Tennessee and the U.S. saw a drop in workplace visits by 33% and 38%, respectively. Visits to transit stations saw similar numbers in Williamson County, Tennessee and the country at large.

The last metric reported, residential visits, saw an uptick in Williamson County of 13%. Tennessee and the U.S. saw an increase in residential visits as well of 10% and 14%, respectively.

As the state prepares to begin the first phase of reopening on Monday, with restaurants being allowed to operate with dine-in options at no more than 50 percent capacity, these numbers are likely to change drastically over the next week.

For time being, however, it appears many a Williamson County resident has found refuge in the outdoors — something that may be integral to getting through what could be a very long period of required isolation.