Hungary to ease lockdown everywhere but Budapest


Hungaryʼs government has decided to ease restrictions on movement in all areas of the country but the capital from Monday, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Ministerʼs Office, said at a weekly press briefing on Thursday.

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According to a report by state news wire MTI, Gulyás said that the restrictions would be eased in Pest County to the same degree as in all other parts of the country with the exception of Budapest.

Hungary introduced the restrictions on March 28 but eased up on the lockdown in all areas but Pest County and Budapest from May 4, allowing more non-essential businesses to re-open and ending limits on business hours.

Most coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths in Hungary have been in Budapest and satellite communities in Pest County.

Gulyás said restaurants outside of the capital would be allowed to host dine-in guests indoors, while complying with rules on social distancing and wearing masks.

Restaurants outside of the capital and Pest County were already allowed to seat guests in outdoor areas - on terraces or in courtyards - from May 4.

Gulyás added that playgrounds and parks outside of the capital would re-open, as would commercial accommodations.

Instruction will not take place in schools before June 2, he said, adding that state secretary for education Zoltán Maruzsa has suggested that winding up the academic year will not pose a problem if students continue their online classes from home.

Government spokesperson Alexandra Szentkirályi said wedding parties with up to 200 guests would be allowed outside of the capital from June 1, as long as guests from separate households keep a distance of at least 1.5 m apart.

Gulyás said the cabinet believes the lockdown in Budapest could be eased, too, and has asked mayor Gergely Karácsony and the capitalʼs district mayors for their views on the matter. The government will take a decision on the issue and make an announcement on Friday or by Saturday, at the latest, he added.

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