COVID-19 Research: In-state and out-of-state visitors before and after the reopening of businesses in Georgia

As of April 27th, Georgia has begun reopening businesses. How is this impacting store traffic in Georgia border towns? 

The state of Georgia announced that the majority of businesses could reopen on April 24th, with additional openings on April 27th for restaurants and movie theaters. Health officials originally reported that the earliest safe date for reopening Georgia would be in June. 

Methodology 

This study consists of 25 Walmart, CVS and Target locations in border towns in Georgia. These locations are also along major highways where people would potentially stop. The traffic to these locations can give insight into the behavior of in-state and out-of-state visitors before and after the reopening of businesses in Georgia. 

This study observes three timeframes for comparison:  

Before the outbreak – April 1, 2019 – April 7, 2019

Week before reopening – April 20, 2020 – April 27, 2020

Week of reopening – April 27, 2020 – May 3, 2020

Georgia Reopening – In-State vs. Out-of-State Visitors

In-state and out-of-state visitors are travelling slightly farther distances the week after reopening than the week before.  There is also a higher percentage of out-of-state visitors seen at the 25 stores in these border towns. 

For out-of-state visitors there is a marked difference in distance travelled before and after the Covid-19 pandemic.  This is probably a result of individuals being less willing to drive long distances through these border towns.

Georgia Border Towns – Top Out-of-State Origin Markets

Since the implementation of stay at home orders, Georgia sees less visitors from farther away origin markets. This has the effect of driving up the percent of total devices up for markets like Chattanooga and Columbus. Visitors are travelling shorter distances to these border town stores.  There does not appear to be a significant difference in the distribution of origin markets between the week before and after Georgia’s reopening. 

Origin Markets of Visitors from Control Period (April 1, 2019 – April 7, 2019)

Origin Markets of Visitors the Week Before Reopening (April 20, 2020 – April 27, 2020)

Origin Markets of Visitors the Week of Reopening (April 27, 2020 – May 3, 2020)

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