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New pandemic-related restrictions in Hungary starting from 11 November 2020

November 9, 2020

Last updated on 23 November 2020.

With the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic hitting Hungary, the government has announced some new pandemic-related restrictions as preventive measures effective of 11 November, Wednesday. They will be in force at least for 30 days, but probably until 8 February (depending on the evaluation of the situation).

The article is now updated with information included in the official decree, with addtions on 13 November, 14 November, and 17 November.

Entry to Hungary

The same travel restrictions apply as since the beginning of September. Tourism is not allowed, but residents of Hungary can enter freely, business travel is permitted, and even third-country nationals may enter Hungary for a handful of specific reasons, with a police clearance.

Curfew, masks, social distancing

There is a strict curfew in force starting from Wednesday: no one is allowed to stay in the streets between 8 pm and 5 am. Exceptions are made for:

  • leaving your home for an emergency
  • work-related cases, meaning going to work, going home after work, and actually working (you need to verify that with a document)
  • if you do professional sports and you are going to / returning home from practice or a competition (you need to verify that with a document)
  • walking your dog within 500 meters of your home (dog parks may remain open based on the decision of the local municipality)

In towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants, wearing a mask is obligatory in all public spaces indicated by the local municipality. In Budapest, this actually means all public spaces in every district, except for District 4 (Újpest), District 12 (Hegyvidék), and District 16.

The mask must cover both your mouth and nose, and it must be a proper mask (not a bandana or a scarf).

Wearing a mask is also obligatory in the following situations:

  • in public transport and related waiting areas – if you do not comply, you might be denied service and fined.
  • in the customer service areas of archives, government offices, and post offices
  • while shopping or working in a shop or restaurant
  • in shopping malls (except for office spaces, sports facilities, and work premises)
  • in social institutions

You do not have to wear a mask

  • in parks and other green areas
  • while doing sports

Apart from this, social distancing is required in the following ways:

  • All kinds of public gatherings are forbidden
  • Holding all kinds of events is forbidden (including cultural events, sporting events, music related events, and Christmas markets)
  • At most 10 people may attend family gatherings and other private functions
  • Weddings are allowed, but without a reception, and only the parties and their closest family members may attend: children, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, and the witnesses
  • Funerals are allowed, but at most 50 people may attend
  • Masses are allowed (the Churches decide)
  • Professional sporting events may be held without spectators
  • Non-professional team sport is forbidden (both practice and matches)
  • It is allowed to practice sports or to exercise individually, in open air
  • Theatrical and similar events may be held without an audience (e.g. with an online broadcast)
  • Tourism is forbidden (hotels may accept only people on business trips, but not tourists)

Starting from 30 November (Monday), only people above 65 years are allowed to enter shops

  • 9 am – 11 am on weekdays
  • 8 am – 10 am on weekends

From 23 November, to encourage safe transportation parking is free of charge

  • in all public parking spaces all over Hungary
  • even in parking garages 7 pm – 7 am

Education

  • Higher education continues online, but dormitories will be closed – although the leader of a university or college may allow students to stay, especially in the case of foreign students.
  • High-school continues online. Dormitories of high-schools may continue to operate, based on the decision of the headmaster.
  • Nursery schools, kindergartens, and education institutions for children under the age of 14 remain open.
  • From 14 November: High-school students and teachers can receive one month of free home internet (but not mobile internet), for both existing and new contracts, for which they can apply at their provider.

Administration

From 13 November): Regarding the validity of documents expiring after 4 November 2020 by the end of the current state of emergency:

  • The validity of Hungarian documents is extended until 60 days after the end of the state of emergency.
  • The validity of the documents of third-country nationals in Hungary is extended until 30 days after the end of the state of emergency.

Testing

People with the following occupations will be tested weekly:

  • Those working in hospitals
  • Those working in schools, kindergartens and nursery schools
  • Those working in social institutions

Free public transportation for healthcare workers

Healthcare workers and students who participate in disease control can use both local and inter-municipal public transportation free of charge. They just have to show

  • an ID document
  • a verification document obtained from the relevant healthcare institution for this purpose

Restrictions for businesses

  • Restaurants must close, only home delivery or takeaway is possible. However, cafeterias at workplaces, hospitals, schools, and hotels or other residences may remain open (these latter two may serve only the students / guests and employees of the facility).
  • Stores and shops must close at 7 pm. Only gas stations and pharmacies are exempt.
  • Service providers without a store or shop must consider that both them and their patrons must comply with the curfew.
  • Free-time facilities will be closed, including zoos, museums, libraries, theaters, cinemas, circuses, adventure and fun parks, and spas.
  • Free-time facilities that are sporting facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, and ice-skating rinks cannot receive patrons who do not do sports professionally.
  • Hotels may accept only people on business trips, or trips related to economic purposes or education, but no tourists

Reliefs for businesses

  • A retailer may provide home delivery of fast-moving consumer goods and food during the state of emergency without giving a notice about it to the authorities.
  • NEW: As of 14 November, VAT is only 5% on takeaway or home delivered food prepared by restaurants, at last until 8 February 2021.
  • Driving a taxi is made easier, conditions are relaxed.
  • Hotels and accommodation providers will be compensated for 80% of losses for reservations for the period between 11 November and 11 December if they were made before 9 November IF the employees of the hotel are retained and receive their full salary.
  • Hotels and accommodation providers may apply for an aid to cover their recurring costs.  
  • Restaurants and free-time facilities do not have to pay contributions for their employees for November, and 50% of the salary of employees will be paid by the government IF the employees are retained and receive their full salary.

Need more information? Let us know!

Further information will be available about these pandemic-related restrictions as soon as the official decree is published. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us through the below form. The Helpers Team has been assisting foreigners in Hungary for more than 15 years, and we strive to make your experience in Hungary more pleasant. We also offer tailored services related to immigration and company-operation in Hungary.


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