The Hungarian government has declared a state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic: this article outlines the current emergency measures in place.
According to the Hungarian Constitution, in a state of emergency the government may, through its decrees, suspend laws, deviate from laws and implement exceptional emergency measures.
The known governmental emergency measures in force at the time of writing so far are set out below.
Measures impacting entry into the country
- Incoming international civilian train, bus and air traffic (except where there is no landing or stopping) is suspended from China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, and as of 15 March, Israel.
- Border inspections have been reinstated on the Schengen borders. Arrivals from the above countries are subject to mandatory medical examination. If there is a suspicion of infection, they are quarantined in a hospital. If the examination does not give rise to a suspicion of inspection, the arrivals must isolate themselves in their homes (home quarantine) for two weeks, based on an official decision.
- Individuals in mandatory home isolation cannot leave their home for two weeks and quarantine violations may be punished. The police are authorised to sanction violations.
- As of 17 March, only Hungarian nationals (EU nationals with permanent residence permits are treated as Hungarian nationals) may enter the country.
Measures impacting schools and services
- University buildings are closed and under visiting prohibition, and have shifted to remote study (e-learning) exclusively.
- The Foreign Language Learning Programme is suspended, foreign school excursions are prohibited and any booked excursions must be cancelled.
- As of 16 March, schools are also closed and will continue teaching remotely (e-learning).
- Kindergartens and nurseries may be closed: this will depend on what their supervising bodies decide.
- As of 17 March, all indoor and outdoor events are prohibited (except for religious gatherings, weddings and burials), regardless of the number of participants, resulting in the closure of cinemas, theatres and concerts.
- Stores must stay closed between 15:00 and 06:00 every day, however, food and drugstores, household appliances chemical and hygienic paper product stores, pharmacies, and medical accessory stores are not affected by this restriction.
- Hospital visits are prohibited.
- The expiration date of any official personal documents (ID card, driver's licence) that would otherwise expire is extended to 15 days after the end of state of emergency.
- Hungarian healthcare workers, members of law enforcement (including the tax authority), military personnel, government officials can only leave Hungary with the special authorisation of their sectoral minister.
Economic measures (effective as of 19 March):
- The Government has recognised the following sectors as most impacted by the epidemic and implemented a reduction in their tax obligations until 30 June 2020, which may be extended as needed: tourism, hospitality (gastronomy, hotels etc.,), entertainment, sport, cultural services and passenger transport.
- In the above sectors lease agreements may not be terminated and the amount of rent cannoto be raised during this period.
- Loan payments have been suspended until the end of the year.
- Interest on new consumer loans has been limited.
- Several derogations from the Labour Code have been implemented to increase the flexibility of the workforce and allow for a wider range of agreements between employer and employee.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.