November updates on pandemic related restrictions in Hungary

October 28, 2021

Last updated on 14 January 2022.

For up to date information, please refer to our latest article on the topic. Click here.

With the number of new COVID-19 cases slowly climbing again, the government has just announced that new measures are being introduced to hinder the spread of the coronavirus starting from 1 November. Further measures are expected later.

The below restrictions were announced at the press conference on 28 October 2021. The official decree was published overnight; the below information is now updated with its contents.

Wear a mask in public transport

Public transport vehicles are often crowded and without ventilation, which makes them an excellent venue for spreading diseases. With the number of new cases of COVID-19 rising again, it makes perfect sense to ask people to mask up in public transport starting from Monday. This is especially because on 1 November, All Saints’ Day, the number of people using public transport always increases as families visit the graves of their loved ones.

Just like before, proper masks will be expected that cover both the mouse and the nose. Simple bandanas or scarves will not be accepted. Children under the age of 6 and people with a verified medical condition (including autism and psychosocial disabilities) are exempt.

Wearing a mask will be required not only on the vehicles but also in stops, stations, and waiting rooms.

Employers can make employees take the vaccine

So far, getting vaccinated has been anyone’s choice, and employers have had no right to enquire into the vaccination status of their employees. Starting from November, however, employers may require employees to get vaccinated, unless they have an exemption (usually a medical reason).

Employers can set a deadline for taking the first dose of a vaccine, which must be at least 45 days. Accordingly, the earliest deadline set this way can be 15 December.

If an employee refuses to take the vaccine until the deadline, the employer may send them on an unpaid leave. If the employer does not take the vaccine in the following one year, their employment can be terminated immediately.

This applies not only to employers and employees in the private sector, but also in the public sector. Employees working in governmental institutions and state owned companies, including most teachers and civil servants, will be required to get vaccinated by the below deadlines.

  • 15 December for people in client facing positions
  • 31 January 2022 for people not in client facing positions

After the deadline, the employer may demand the employee to take the vaccine or present a document verifying their exemption within 15 calendar days. If that does not happen, the employer can send the employee on an unpaid leave. If the employer does not take the vaccine in the following one year, their employment can be terminated immediately.

At municipalities and companies owned by municipalities, the mayor may decide whether or not employees will be required to get vaccinated.

No visiting healthcare facilities

To protect those treated in healthcare facilities (primarily in hospitals), visiting will be prohibited from 1 November. Nursing homes and other care facilities have a special status: there the director can decide whether or not to prohibit visits.

In the official decree, no further details were added.

Until when will these restrictions remain in place?

While no end date was announced at the press conference, the regulations remain in place until the end of the state of emergency, which is set to continue until 1 January 2022. However, it may be extended, just like before.

While these are just a handful of crucial measures, further restrictions may be introduced later in November.

Border crossing

No new restrictions on border crossing were mentioned. For now the same rules apply as introduced in September 2020, with various exemptions added since then.

Need more information?

Watch this space for updates on November developments after the official decree is published. If you want to stay up-to-date about pandemic related restrictions in Hungary, follow our Facebook page, where we regularly publish the latest news relevant to expats.

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