Coronavirus: Restrictions Relaxed In Budapest - Here's What's Allowed Now

  • 18 May 2020 8:05 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Coronavirus: Restrictions Relaxed In Budapest - Here's What's Allowed Now
The government is lifting the curfew restrictions imposed due to the novel coronavirus epidemic in Budapest, with measures in the capital to follow the rest of the country with a two-week delay, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a video message posted on Facebook on Saturday.

Expert-level discussions have made it clear that “we have contained the virus in Budapest as well so we can move on – albeit carefully and cautiously – to the second phase of defence here too”, he said.

Responsible behaviour and social distancing are particularly important still in the capital, Orbán said.

He asked mayors not to take the risk lightly and pay special attention to nursing homes.

“On the 66th day from the announcement of the state of emergency”, Orbán continued, “I can give you the good news that we have won the first battle, the one for the containment of the virus. This is no longer just a hope, a wish or self-encouragement, but a fact.”

Orbán added that the number of those who have been infected with the virus is low and the number of new cases is also showing a favourable trend.

“We have succeeded because we made all the decisions in time, and because – let me especially emphasise this – everyone, people in the countryside, citizens of Budapest, single people, families, the elderly and young people alike, we all behaved responsibly; let me say thank you for this!” Orbán said.

Gergely Gulyás confirmed that if the trend of the epidemic remains unchanged, the government will ask Parliament late May to end the special authorization given to it at the start of the state of emergency.

Gulyás said the government lifted the restrictions in the capital only two weeks after it did in the countryside because coronavirus cases and fatalities were concentrated in Budapest.

In recent days, however, the number of people who recovered from the disease well exceeded the number of new infections, therefore, the number of active cases has fallen significantly, even though most Covid-19 cases are still in the capital, he added.

He said the government had consulted everyone, including mayors, virologists and doctors, to be able to take a responsible decision.

Gulyás said it would still be compulsory to wear a mask in shops and on public transport in Budapest in order to prevent the spread of the infection.

Public areas, parks and outdoor playgrounds can be visited from Monday 18 May.

He added that people over the age of 65 will continue to be allowed to visit groceries, drugstores and pharmacies between 9am and noon and everyone else during the remaining opening hours, but municipalities have the right to set different rules for the opening hours of markets.

From this Monday, all shops and service providers are allowed to open, and at restaurants, cafes and bars, the outdoor areas and terraces can be opened in the capital.

Outdoor swimming pools, museums and the zoo can reopen to visitors.

Religious services, weddings and funerals attended by up to 200 people will be permitted from June 1 outside of the capital and after June 15 in Budapest, Gulyás said, adding that family events can also be held at hotels and restaurants.

He also said catering units will not have to pay a fee for using public spaces for their terraces from Monday until September 1 because they have suffered huge losses.

Universities can be reopened in Budapest from Monday, but this will require the decision of the rector everywhere, Gulyás said, adding that it is still prohibited to visit student accommodation establishments.

MTI Photo: Zoltán Balogh

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