Earlier this year, Niantic, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, introduced a series of temporary bonuses in Pokémon GO. A few of those bonuses were removed or nerfed in late September along with a message encouraging safe but active gameplay. Now, as certain locations begin to tighten restrictions, Niantic has once again introduced these bonuses… but this time, it's different. During the first run, Niantic had a counter on the bonuses that would, every month, show the remaining time left with the bonuses count from thirty days to zero days, before it would be refreshed along with a reminder from the game developer that these aren't permanent. Now, Niantic has announced that these newly reintroduced bonuses will remain in-game until June 2021 and that, trainers will receive a heads up a month in advance before they're removed. Let's take a look at exactly what is changing.
Basically, the only bonus that was active in Pokémon GO before that we're missing now is reduced Egg hatch distance… but more on that later.
First up, the Incense. The biggest bonus was also the biggest nerf. Incense used to only really work when trainers were walking with it spawning at best five Pokémon for stationary players. The initial pandemic bonus saw Incense produce a spawn roughly every 55 seconds to a minute. Then, September 2020's nerf cut it down to one spawn per minute and a half for stationary players and one per minute for those walking. Now, in effort to keep trainers from feeling the need to go out during these times, the Incense has returned to its highly effective rate.
In addition to this, Buddy Pokémon will now bring up to fifteen Gifts per day.
Finally, Niantic ended their announcement on the Pokémon GO blog by referencing the bonus we're not seeing here: reduced Egg hatch distance. They wrote:
Also look out for the following bonuses to show up during select upcoming events, making sure they have components that can safely be played regardless of your situation:
Incubator distance reduction
Trade distance increases
1 PokéCoin bundles And more
Worth noting, trade distance reduction is currently active in Pokémon GO and will be until November 23rd at 4 PM Pacific. Trainers have noted that, unlike the initial trade distance test, the current distance reached up to 50KM.