OTTAWA -- Ottawa residents are on the move as the temperatures rise and the COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed during the pandemic.

Apple’s Mobility Trends Report shows a spike in requests for walking and driving directions in Ottawa on the Apple Maps app during the Victoria Day long weekend.

The requests for walking directions on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were the highest since the COVID-19 pandemic and the calls for physical distancing began in mid-March. Apple Maps saw the highest requests for driving directions on Tuesday since March 16.

Apple’s Mobility Trends Report looks at requests for directions using Apple Maps on devices during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The data is compared to a baseline volume of requests set on January 13.

In Ottawa, the requests for walking directions on Apple Maps was 24 per cent below baseline on Saturday, May 16 and 17 per cent below baseline on Tuesday, May 19.   The largest gap between baseline and requests for walking directions on Apple Maps was March 29, at 74 per cent below baseline.

Requests for driving directions spiked to 20 per cent below baseline on Tuesday, May 19. On Friday, May 15, requests for driving directions was 25 per cent below baseline.  The lowest level below baseline was on March 29, at 73 per cent.

Mobility concerns

Ottawa’s medical officer of health is concerned about residents being on the move during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Apple Mobility Data is showing us (travel) is creeping back up. We’re starting to go back towards our baseline levels of activity,” said Dr. Etches about the Apple Mobility Data on walking and driving.

“We do need people to keep in mind as you’re getting out there, and you’re being more active that physical distance is what is protecting us from really that upsurge or second wave as people have been talking about.”

Dr. Etches says modelling shows that if we go too quickly in relaxing our interactions with others and physical distancing drops by about 20 per cent, “we do risk a resurgence in infections.”