The 36th issue of the Hungarian Gazette, 2021 containing the Government Decree 104/2021 (III.5.) on the temporary aggravation of protection measures (hereinafter: Decree), has been published on the 5 March, 2021. The Decree has entered into force on 8 March 2021, and its principal measures are the following.
The Decree, as a general rule, set out that each person shall limit the number of meetings in public areas and places to the narrowest personal circle and keep at least 1.5 meters distance from each other, if possible.
Within the settlements, on the street and in public areas – except for certain cases – everyone shall wear mask covering both the nose and mouth, however, the legislator did not restrict the type of masks to be worn. Medical, safety, or even a mask made of textile or other materials can be worn. Children under the age of 6 and people with disabilities are still not required to wear a mask, as exception.
Sport activities may be performed alone or with household members, during which to wear a mask shall not be required.
The Decree stipulates that in unincorporated area, and in parks, arboretums and forests found in clear, may continue to be visited in accordance with the provisions of the legislation in force.
Rules relating to shops
Outside the curfew, until 22 March, shopping and staying is allowed in the following shops:
- in a grocery shop, selling daily consumer goods,
- in other shops (particularly perfumes, drugstores, household cleaners, chemicals and shops selling sanitary paper products),
- shops selling work, professional duty, materials and equipment essential for carrying out economic, agricultural and forestry activities (particularly in the shops selling vehicles, machinery, components, construction materials and equipment) excluding the shops, where the main activity is selling entertainment and consumer electronics,
- in pet food and feed shops,
- in agricultural shops, including fertilizer shops and butcheries,
- in horticulture, and tree nursery,
- in the market, in the local producer market, excluding shops that are closed according to the present list,
- in the shops selling medicines, medical devices, optical and optics equipment,
- in the veterinary pharmacy,
- at the petrol station,
- in the national tobacco shop, and
- at the newsstand.
Shops not listed above are required to be closed.
The operator, manager of the shop shall ensure the observation of the security measures.
Restaurants do not have to be closed, however to stay at the shop is only allowed during the time necessary for the provision and delivery of the food for takeaway.
The Decree provides for that, in light of the International Women’s Day, shops selling ornamental plants may be open on 8 March 2021 outside the time period of the curfew, as an exception.
The Decree sets out, in general, that premises or venues for services requiring personal appearances shall be kept closed until 22 March. Only certain service providers, covered by the Decree, shall have been exempted from this obligation. Thus, in harmony with the previous press releases, transport and delivery service, as well as private health care providers, including spectacle manufacturers, and also premises providing
- social service,
- postal, mail order and home delivery service,
- toto (football pool) and lottery service,
- vehicle service, agricultural and industrial machinery service, household appliance service, building-engineering service,
- IT, communication device repair service,
- funeral service,
- veterinary service,
- veterinary, phytosanitary, food testing laboratory service,
- food processing service,
- communal catering service,
- animal husbandry service,
- legal (attorney) service,
- security service,
- building management and office service,
- vehicle rental and machine rental service,
- laundry and cleaning service, and
- financial service in accordance with the legislation specified in the Decree.
Furthermore, only professional athletes can visit ice rinks, swimming pools, gyms, and other sport facilities.
In harmony with the rules applying for the shops above, the operator or manager of the place or venue shall ensure the observation of the above measures.
The Decree emphasizes that it is forbidden to visit and stay in casinos, and card rooms (except for those working there).
Accommodation services will continue to be governed by the rule that only people arriving for business, economic or educational purposes, as well as law enforcement and health workers shall be accommodated.
Observation of the rules shall be jointly controlled by the police and the Hungarian Defence Forces. The police may impose fines ranging from HUF 100,000 to HUF 1,000,000 in case of violation (i) the obligation to keep shops, service providers, and casinos closed, as well as (ii) the restrictive provisions relating to accommodation providers. Also, in case of breach, the places mentioned above can be closed for a period of one day to one year. The police shall carry out the inspection continuously therefore more than one visit in a day can be performed, with repeated legal consequences.
The Decree, as an exception, provides for the case where the operator, manager has called the offender to leave the place and, in case of resistance, notified the infringement to the police.
Violating the prohibitions on staying in shops, service providers, casinos and in accommodation outside the purposes set out in the Decree, the offender commits an infringement, with the possibility of imposing a fine between HUF 5,000 and HUF 500,000.
Schools are closing
Public education and vocational training institutions will switch to digital work schedule until 7 April, and as regards to kindergartens, the legislator provided for an extraordinary break. Student residences may continue to operate at the discretion of the supervisor of the institution.
Exams cannot be organized in adult education; exams announced or already started and in progress, must be postponed.
Mandatory home office in the public administration
Employees in the public administration shall work from home with their own devices. Office work can only be ordered, if it is absolutely essential, especially for those involved in epidemic control, and if working from home cannot be solved due to the nature of the actual work.
The Decree requests the operators in the economic sector to strive for working from home.
The main rules of the Decree remain in force until 22 March, however, the temporary protection measures related to public education (§ 11) shall be applied until 7 April.