GPS Data Shows Eastern Oregon Isn’t Listening to Social Distancing Directives

Oregonians are reducing their travel far less than people in other states—at least according to their cellphones.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown at the Pendleton Round-Up (office of the governor)

Last week, Gov. Kate Brown worried Oregonians east of the Cascades weren't heeding her warnings to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic. "It doesn't feel real in Eastern Oregon," Brown said March 17, "and we are struggling to communicate the importance of social distancing measures there."

She was right to worry. East Oregonians aren't listening—at least according to data from their cellphones.

On March 24, a company called Unacast, which collects and analyzes GPS data, released a national scorecard of how well U.S. citizens were complying with directives to stay home and away from other people. That's right, cowboys: Your cellular phone apps are tracking how many miles you travel, and gave the data to a company that ranked Americans by how much they reduced their perambulation.

On average, Oregonians have traveled 25.3 percent less on March 20 than they did on a typical Friday. That's one of the smallest reductions in the nation, ahead of just three states. (Tellingly, those states are Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.) Californians, by contrast, cut their travel distances nearly in half.

Weighing down Oregon's score: counties east of the Cascades, many of which actually saw an increase in travel last weekend. Here are the places where Oregonians are socially distancing—and where they keep on truckin'.

GPS data shows EasternOregon isn’t listening tosocial distancing directives.

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