The Government declared pandemic emergency again and introduced further strict measures to combat the pandemic

By Government Decree No. 478/2020 (XI.3.), in order to protect the life and health of Hungarian citizens and to prevent the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the Government declared pandemic emergency again in respect of the entire territory of Hungary, effective as of 4 November 2020 (the provisions concerning the outdoor access ban shall come into force on 5 November 2020 at midnight).

Similarly to the first wave of the pandemic, the Government appointed the prime minister as the person responsible for the prevention of the consequences of the worldwide pandemic. The prime minister will be assisted by the Operational Corps, to operate during the term of the pandemic preparedness.

The emergency-related special provisions are set forth in separate government decrees. The Government will continuously supervise the necessity of the extension of the pandemic emergency.

By Government Decree No. 479/2020 (XI. 3.), the Government introduced further protective measures applicable during the emergency:

1. Outdoor access ban

Between midnight and 5 a.m., each person is obliged to stay at his/her permanent or temporary place of residence or place of accommodation.

The ban shall not apply to leaving the residence/place of accommodation

(a) for the purpose of working,

(b) for the purpose of travelling to the workplace,

(c) for the purpose of travelling from the workplace to the permanent or temporary place of residence or place of accommodation,

or

(d) if it is necessitated by a condition that threatens to cause health damage, a risk to life or material damage, or for the purpose of protection of life, it is allowed to leave the permanent or temporary place of residence or place of accommodation and/or to reside outside in public spaces between midnight and 5 a.m.

If the Parliament decides on the extension of the effectiveness of this decree, the Government will resolve on the maintenance of the outdoor access ban latest by 30 November 2020.

2. Protective measures affecting events

It is prohibited to attend (organize, hold) events

(a) that are held regularly or with regard to a specific, individual event / at a specific date, regardless of being public or

private, held for the main purpose of presenting selected musical records or providing live music services as the main service

and

(b) where the attendance isn’t subject to having a pre-booked seat.

3. Protective measures affecting cultural events and venues, cinema screenings and sports events

Performing arts events that do not fall under the definition of events described in Section 2 hereinabove, in particular, the performance of theatre plays, dance, music pieces, regardless of being public or private, cinema screenings and non-international sports events (hereinafter jointly referred to as cultural and sports events) may be held provided that the following rules are complied with:

Except for the boxes, in the viewers’ area of the cultural or sports events the viewers

(a) may occupy every third seat only, two seats between two visitors shall be left unoccupied; and

(b) they may not occupy the seats directly behind each other, and 1.5 metres protective distance shall be kept between the visitors sitting in the same row as well as the visitors sitting behind each other.

During the cultural or sports event, even if not sitting in the viewers’ area, the viewers shall keep the 1.5 meters protective distance, in particular

(a) in the boxes,

(b) during the breaks of the cultural or sports event,

(c) in the territory of cultural or sports events, and

(d) in the catering facilities located in the territory of the cultural or sports event.

The organizer of the cultural or sports event and the operator of the venue of the cultural or sports event shall ensure that the above protective measures are observed, and the related requirements are met. The person, who fails to observe the protective measures despite being warned to do so by the operator, the organizer or any employee of the above, shall be banned from attending the event and escorted out from the venue or premises of the event by the operator, the organizer or their employee.

In addition to the mask-wearing obligation, to the international sports events, the rules set forth by the respective international sports association.

The following institutions are open for visitors (the institutions listed hereunder shall have the meaning attributed to them in the Act on the Museum Institutions, Public Libraries’ Services and Community Culture):

(a) museum institutions,

(b) institutions providing public library services,

(c) audio- and video archives,

(d) institutions of public education,

(e) community spaces, and

(f) integrated cultural institutions are open for visitors, with the proviso that the 1.5 meters distance rule shall be observed.

The operator of the institution shall ensure that the protective measures are observed. The person, who fails to keep the required 1.5 meters distance from another person despite being warned to do so by the operator or any employee of the operator, shall be banned from visiting the institution and escorted out from the venue or premises of the event by the operator or the operator’s employee.

The police will monitor the observation of the above obligations. If the police check reveals the breach of these obligations,

(a) it issues an official warning,

(b) it may impose a fine ranging from HUF 100,000 to HUF 1,000,000,

(c) it may order the temporary closing of the venue (except for the venue of the sports event) for a minimum period of

one day and a maximum period of one year, or

(d) in the case of a sports event, it may order that minimum one, maximum ten sports events at the same venue shall be held without viewers, closed for the public.

These sanctions may be imposed together simultaneously, or at any times on the same day, as a result of consecutive checks.

These sanctions may not be imposed on the organizer, the operator or their employees, if they took the necessary measures to end the infringement, in particular

(a) if they instructed the wrongdoer to leave the venue,

(b) after the wrongdoer rejected to act as being instructed, they notified the police.

If the operator, the organizer or their employee failed to take the necessary measures to end the infringement or took only a certain part of such measures, the police will consider these measures taken by the operator to restore the legal status when imposing the sanctions defined in paragraph (2) hereinabove.

The imposed fine shall be paid to the bank account disclosed on the police’s official webpage.

The fine shall be paid within 15 days from the date when the respective decision becomes final and binding.

No appeal may be submitted against the decision imposing a fine.

4. Pandemic-related measures concerning public transport

In order to reduce the spreading of the coronavirus, in Budapest and cities of county rights, the business entities responsible for the provision of local public transport services shall prepare a plan to reduce the intervals between the runs between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. as well as between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays.

The plan shall be prepared and submitted to the competent government office until 5 November 2020. Once the plan is approved, the measures included therein shall come into force, and the execution thereof shall be provided for on the day of the approval.

5. Special rules concerning the parking fee payment during the emergency

In order to reduce the spreading of the coronavirus, the use of parking areas of

(a) local public roads, municipality-owned private roads open for public traffic, squares, parks and other public areas, and

(b) national public roads, state-owned private roads open for public traffic, squares, parks and other public areas for the purpose of parking with a vehicle shall be free of charge.

6. The rules adopted during the pandemic preparedness period preceding the declaration of pandemic emergency (including the rules on mask-wearing) shall remain in force unaltered during the emergency as well.

7. The consequences of the breach of the protective measures by citizens

The breach of a protective measure shall qualify as a misdemeanour. The lowest amount of the fine payable is HUF 5,000, while the highest amount is HUF 500,000. The amount of the on-the-spot fine ranges between HUF 5,000 and HUF 150,000. In the case of a repeated misdemeanour, the maximum amount of the fine is HUF 200,000.