In line with countries in the region, Hungary has also lifted most restrictions in the capital, Budapest, ending nine weeks of a partial curfew. The government announced the decision on Saturday, one week after similar measures outside the capital were lifted. Hungary introduced the restrictions on March 11.
This means that all shops and services can now return to normal opening hours, the outdoors parts of cafes and restaurants will be open, as well as outdoors baths, museums, zoos, parks, and other recreational areas.
What will remain in place is that food shops will only be open to the elderly (above the age of 65) between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., face masks will stay compulsory on public transport, the indoor areas of restaurants remain closed, and a distance of 1.5 meters must be maintained in all public areas.
Family events such as weddings or funerals must be limited to 200 participants. The government decree did not, however, mention hotels, theaters and cinemas. Higher education institutions can also resume courses, but the decision to do so will remain at the discretion of the institution leaders. Residences for students, however, remain closed.
Minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás said in an interview on Sunday that unless the number of new infections unexpectedly spikes in the next few days, the government will submit a motion to Parliament on May 26 relinquishing its emergency rule mandate.
Due to early and strict measures, Hungary only had 3,535 coronavirus cases so far with 462 casualties, while neighboring Austria, with a population similar in size to that of Hungary, had 16,242 cases and 629 deaths.
Title image: Left bank of the Danube in Budapest seen from the Margaret Bridge.