Relaxing pandemic related restrictions in April in Hungary

March 30, 2021

Last updated on 30 April 2021.

Please see our latest article about relaxations coming up at the end of May.

The new regulations (published on 27 March) tie relaxing pandemic related restrictions introduced early March in Hungary not to any specific date, but to developments in the fight against the pandemic. The below measures will come into force once 2.5 million in Hungary have received at least the first dose of one of the available coronavirus vaccines.

Update: 2.5 million people have received at least their first dose by 6 April, which means that the below measures apply starting from 7 April, Wednesday.

Update 2: 3.5 million people have received at least their first dose by 23 April, which means that starting from 24 April, Saturday, the outdoor sections of restaurants may open (with the rules detailed below). Curfew now starts at 11 pm.

Update 3: Once 4 million people have received the first dose, sports and entertainment facilities may open again for people with an immunity card (the plastic card you receive in the mail after your first dose) and their minor children. These include theaters, concerts halls, gyms, pools, ice rinks, zoos, adventure parks, and even the indoor sections of restaurants and hotels. Curfew will start at midnight. This is expected to happen by the end of next week. (Details coming up in our next article, already published officially.)

Wear a mask

Wearing a mask in all public spaces remains obligatory, without exceptions. It must be a proper mask that covers both the mouth and the nose (it cannot be a scarf or a bandana).

Work from home

It is still advisable to stay at home as much as possible, which includes working from home whenever the job makes it possible.

Curfew and opening hours

Relaxing the curfew actually promotes social distancing, since if there is more time to take care of the same amount of affairs, people have more room to scatter.

  • Curfew between 10 p.m. 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (instead of the current 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.)
  • Shops may be open between 5 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. (while observing the rules specified below)

Rules pertaining to restaurants and cafés

Starting from 24 April, Saturday, now that at least 3.5 million people have received at least the first dose of a vaccine, the following rules apply (as detailed in the official decree):

  • The outdoor sections of restaurants and cafés (e.g. gardens, terraces) may seat patrons between 5 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Patrons do not have to wear a mask in these areas.
  • Patrons may enter indoor sections only to pick-up food ordered for delivery or to use the bathroom.
  • Patrons have to wear a mask in these areas, except for children under 6 and persons with mental or psycho-social disabilities or autism.

Patrons may eat indoors in restaurants and canteens if it is a facility

  • in any kind of school, serving students, teachers, and employees
  • in a hospital
  • at a work place (e.g. the cafeteria of an office building)
  • at a hotel or other provider of accommodation, serving only people staying there (e.g. the restaurant of a hotel)

Rules for all shops

All the shops that have been closed since 8 March may open for business. However, to maintain social distancing, the below rules apply to all shops (including grocery stores, pharmacies, and other establishments that have not been closed since March):

  • The number of customers allowed in any shop at any given time is 1 / 10 sqm. If the size of the shopping area is not a multiple of 10, the result is rounded up starting from .5, and rounded down below that.
  • If the shopping area in the shop is 10 sqm or less, at most 1 customer is allowed.
  • For this purpose, children under 14, and helpers to disabled people or people above 65 do not count.
  • The number of customers allowed in any given shop must be indicated on the entrance, next to the opening hours.
  • The owner must ensure that those waiting in line to enter a shop or to be served can keep a safe distance of at least 1.5 meters from each other (unless they live in the same household).
  • Hand sanitizing must be available to the customers while shopping.
  • Surfaces in the shop must be cleaned regularly, including the surface of shopping tools (baskets and carts).

Customers should maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters from each other while they are waiting to enter a shop, and while shopping – unless they live in the same household. The 1.5 meter distance should also be observed while strolling in a shopping mall. At the same time, customers are asked to spend as little time in any shop or shopping mall as possible. While the government is relaxing pandemic related restrictions in Hungary, we should still continue to pay attention to where we go and how we interact with the people around us.

If a shop does not comply with the above listed rules, it may be fined for a sum between HUF 100,000 and 1 million (ca. EUR 300 – 3,000), and may be forced to close for a period between one day and one year.

Border crossing

The same rules apply as since September 2020, although rules pertaining to business travel became stricter at the beginning of March. Neither transit nor shipping is restricted.

Any questions? Let us know

Even with relaxing pandemic related restrictions once about a quarter of people living in Hungary gets at least their first dose of a vaccine, we should continue to pay attention to observe preventive measures and to take care of each other. Take advantage of the extended shopping hours and observe the 1.5m social distance from other people while also wearing a mask and sanitizing your hands regularly.

Should you have any questions or comments related to the above, just send us a message through the form below or comment on our Facebook post, and we will do our best to find an answer for you. Helpers has been assisting foreigners living in Hungary with matters related to business and immigration for 15+ years, and we are confident we can help you too.

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