Relaxing pandemic related restrictions in May in Hungary

April 28, 2021

Last updated on 22 October 2021.

Please see an updated version of this article here.

The new regulations (published on 26 April) again tied relaxing pandemic related restrictions introduced in November, and then in March to developments in the fight against the pandemic. While some of the restrictions introduced earlier still apply, the below measures come into force on 1 May, Saturday, after 4 million people received at least their first dose of one of the available coronavirus vaccines by 30 April, Friday afternoon.

Immunity – to the virus and some restrictions

Some of the measures listed below are tied to being immune to COVID-19. In Hungary, this can be proved by a so called “immunity card”, which is mailed free of charge to everyone who has received their first dose of a vaccine or who has recovered from the disease.

Please note that immunity in fact develops gradually, and reaches its peak only 2-3 weeks after the second dose. Please do not visit crowded spaces without a mask before that, even if law allows you as a holder of an immunity card.

Border crossing

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

With the new regulations, as of 29 April people with a Hungarian immunity card or with an immunity card issued in a country that accepts the Hungarian immunity card may enter Hungary without observing the 10-day quarantine. For now (22 May), these countries are:

  • Czech Republic
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Croatia
  • Montenegro
  • North Macedonia
  • Slovenia
  • Turkey
  • Georgia
  • Mongolia
  • Bahrein

If you are planning to travel from Hungary, it might make sense to ask your doctor for an English language vaccination certificate, with which you can verify that you are vaccinated even in countries that do not accept the Hungarian immunity card. Just download the blank certificate from here, and the doctor administering your second dose or your family doctor to fill it in for you.

Wear a mask

Wearing a mask in all public spaces remains obligatory. It must be a proper mask that covers both the mouth and the nose (it cannot be a scarf or a bandana).

Many spaces so far closed to everyone now open to holders of an immunity card. They and minors in their care may visit these spaces without a mask. The host is allowed to confirm your immunity by checking your immunity card and the relevant ID document (ID card or passport).

For the employees at the shops, restaurants, and other facilities listed above, whether wearing a mask is compulsory is decided by the employer, observing that employees still must wear a mask if they do not have an immunity certificate, and they cannot be forbidden to wear a mask if they want to.

Social distancing

Work form home, if yo can: It is still advisable to stay at home as much as possible, which includes working from home whenever the job makes it possible.

Public gatherings continue to be forbidden, and private functions may still be held with a limited number of participants. Read more about this here.

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 midnight and 5 a.m. (instead of the current 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.)
  • Shops and restaurants may be open between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. (while observing the rules specified below)

Restaurants and cafés

The outdoor sections of restaurants and cafés (e.g. gardens, terraces) are allowed to seat patrons since 24 April.

  • Restaurants etc. may be open between 5 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
  • Patrons do not have to wear a mask in the outdoor areas.
  • Patrons may enter indoor sections to pick-up food ordered for delivery or to use the bathroom, in a mask.
  • Children under 6 and persons with mental or psycho-social disabilities or autism do not have to wear a mask in the indoor areas.
  • NEW: Patrons with an immunity card may sit in the indoor sections of restaurants and cafés etc., and they can also have their minor children with them. While sitting at their table, neither of them has to wear a mask.

Patrons can continue to 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)

Hotels and other accommodation providers

Tourism is allowed again: hotels and other accommodation providers can again accept not only guests who are on a business trip, but everyone who has a valid immunity card, together with their minor children.

Sports and leisure

If you have an immunity card, you and your minor children may visit the following spaces and events without a mask, up till 11 p.m.

  • Gyms, ice rinks, swimming pools that have been open only for professional athletes
  • Professional sporting events may have spectators
  • Free-time facilities, including zoos, museums, libraries, theaters, cinemas, circuses, adventure and fun parks, and spas may open
  • Casinos and card rooms may open

Since there is no mention of the spaces below, there is no change to these:

  • Doing sports in open air and alone is still allowed, observing social distancing
  • Parks and botanical gardens may remain open

Rules for all shops

All shops may open for business – rules are the same as since 7 April. To maintain social distancing, the below rules apply to all shops (including grocery stores, pharmacies, and other establishments that did not closed in 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.

Want to learn more? Just ask us!

Even with the relaxation of restrictions, we should continue to take care of each other. Many people have not been vaccinated yet, so please continue to wear a mask in all public spaces, and observe social distancing. This is especially important for those who already have their immunity card but have not yet received their second dose of a vaccines.

Helpers Hungary has been assisting foreigners living in Hungary for 15+ years. Let us know if you have any questions or comments by filling in the form below, or follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date with new regulations in Hungary.

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