Life in Essex this summer was largely back to normal, with footfall even surpassing pre-pandemic levels in some areas.

Coronavirus restrictions in England were lifted on July 19, allowing people back into hospitality venues without needing to socially distance for the first time since March 2020.

Google uses location data from phones and other devices to track trends in people's movements.

It compares footfall in five areas outside the home – retail and recreation, supermarkets and pharmacies, parks, public transport and workplaces – to a five-week baseline recorded before the Covid-19 crisis.

In Essex, average activity across these categories was two per cent above normal levels between July and September – up significantly from summer 2020, when footfall was 11 per cent below the baseline.

Retail and recreation establishments – such as restaurants, cafes and shopping centres – saw a 17 percentage point increase, matched only by supermarkets and pharmacies.

The lack of international travel increased the popularity of day trips and holidays within the UK this year, providing a boost to high street footfall.

The British Retail Consortium said its figures show footfall in high streets, retail parks and shopping centres rose from July to August, but was still below normal.