COVID-19: Quantify the impact of lifting stay-at-home orders on consumer behavior

How can Georgia’s reopening help inform what recovery look like for public places, retail sectors, and restaurants in the wake of #COVID19? 

Georgia Public Places Foot Traffic

Despite Georgia reopening, it appears that people are being cautious in Georgia and only gradually increasing visits to public spaces. 

Quantifying the impact of lifting stay-at-home orders on consumer behavior

The above map shows which metro areas have had the largest percent change in activity in public spaces during and after the stay at home order. Metro areas that border neighboring states, including Chattanooga, Asheville and Columbus, are at the top of the list for the most traffic. 

Foot Traffic by Sector

In order to understand what the impact lifting stay at home orders has had on retail sectors, it is important to first understand the impact COVID-19 has had on these sectors in general. To do that, we analyzed a mix of essential and non-essential businesses during and after the stay at home order. 

During the stay at home order

Non-essential businesses like apparel, salons, and fitness centers drop significantly, with a slight amount of traffic likely related to cleaning, facilities, and necessary staff. 

Once the order was lifted

Once the stay at home order was lifted, restaurants and salons increased significantly. Salons saw a 50% increase in foot traffic when compared to pre-COVID-19. 

Entertainment Venues

When analyzing entertainment businesses like Main Event Entertainment, an arcade chain, and Brunswick Zone, a bowling alley chain, you see a slight increase in foot traffic after the stay at home order was lifted, but the increase is slow. This is likely due to the restrictions businesses still must adhere to in order to maintain social distancing. 

Salons and Spas

Even though we see a 50% increase in salons/spas, the increase in foot traffic is there but it varies between brands. 

It is interesting to see that a Massage Envy has a 10% increase in traffic. This may be related to people who use massages for medicinal reasons or due to the subscription-based model of Massage Envy’s business.

Take-out and drive-thru: How has the “new normal” changed consumer behavior?

We ranked both national and regional restaurant brands that were in our polygon library and ranked them by their average daily visitor counts.

Visitation to casual dining has dropped

Comparing their average daily visits and how they’ve changed during stay at home times– we see that the casual dining categories have dropped off of the top 10 list. That isn’t much of a surprise when you think about the nature of casual dining and the amount of business that is driven through dining rooms and bars. Additionally, this could be the result of staffing issues, supply chain problems, reduced hours, or the lack of space necessary to facilitate social distancing. 

Visitation to QSRs on the rise

What we see is that other QSRs that had previously been low on the rankings have jumped into the top ten list, making the entire top ten list QSRs

How can a single location evaluate the impact COVID-19 has had on its business? 

By utilizing UberMedia’s Vista Property Report, businesses of all sizes can evaluate how COVID-19 has changed their consumer profiles. 

Common Evening Locations of Visitors to Sonic Drive In, Calhoun, GA

Here we can see Common Evening Locations of devices that we saw in the polygon of our Sonic location. Common Evening Locations show where phones sit mostly during the evening and weekend hours.

By evaluating the Common Evening Locations of devices observed at the Sonic Drive In in Calhoun, GA before the stay at home order and after, we can see that prior to the stay at home order, the majority of its customers were concentrated right near the restaurant. During and after the stay at home order, the common evening locations of customers expands eastward. 

Mobile Trade Area for the Sonic Drive In, Calhoun, GA

By looking at the trade area before vs. during & after stay at home orders, you can see how this particular location’s consumer base has changed. They are now capturing people from the east in addition to their previous primary market.


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Mobile location data can help businesses of all sizes determine what is the “new normal” and who their evolving consumer base is. Reach out to or sign up for a free trial of the Vista Property Report at to learn more.