COVID-19: Useful Information and Guide

  • March 25, 2020
We have compiled the latest credible news and updates for the business community and the general public. We will continuously update this page with new information as the situation develops.

Coronavirus Situation in Hungary

(as of March 29)

Infected Deceased Recoveries Quarantined Tested
408 13 34 71 12148

State of Emergency was declared by the government.

On March 27, the government issued a lockdown for two weeks between March 28 and April 11 to fight the virus.

LOCKDOWN

On March 27, a lockdown was ordered between March 28 and April 11. People are only allowed to leave their homes for substantial reasons:

  • work
  • shopping for groceries, medical supplies, pet food, fuel, drug store items and tobacco
  • medical reasons
  • providing care for others
  • post office, banks, other financial services
  • individual sports and recreational walks
  • taking children to daycare, kindergarten
  • fulfilling parental rights and obligations
  • walking pets, animal care, veterinary services
  • vehicle repair
  • shipping
  • cleaning and hygienic services
  • haircuts, manicures, pedicures
  • cleaning services
  • attend weddings and funerals
  • engaging in religious activities


Grocery stores, pharmacies, markets, and drugstores will remain open. People over 65 can only enter these establishments between 09:00 and 12:00. During these hours, younger people are banned from these places.

In public places, a compulsory 1.5-metre distance must be kept from others.

Police and military police will enforce the lockdown. Violation is punishable with a fine up to HUF 500,000.

contingency and ECONOMIC RELIEF

  • Loan payments are suspended until the end of the year for all private individuals and businesses

  • Short-term business loans are prolonged until 30 July

  • Sectors heavily impacted by the coronavirus outbreak such as tourism, hospitality, entertainment, sports, cultural services, transportation, will be exempted from paying social security contributions. Only healthcare contributions must be paid with the amount limited to 7710 HUF.

    Landlord are forbidden from terminating non-residential rent contracts or increase rent for businesses in the heavily impacted sectors.

  • Private entrepreneurs performing passenger transport services under the so-called "KATA" tax regulation will not have to pay their flat tax from March to June.

  • Flexible labor regulations: some provisions of the 2012 Labour Code were suspended until the 30th day after the end of the state of emergency.

  • Contactless payment limit raised to 15000 HUF

  • The government has earmarked more than HUF 15 billion (EUR 43m) for the purchase of additional medical equipment as part of protection measures against the COVID-19 epidemic.

  • The defense ministry has confirmed that teams from the Hungarian Armed Forces are being deployed to help 84 strategic companies to ensure the continued supply of good and services to the public.

  • The Hungarian Armed Forces has built a tent hospital in a single day in the courtyard of Budapest’s St. László Hospital to pre-screen patients so that they can be assigned to the best possible care as quick as possible.

RESTRICTIONS

  • All public events are banned, including AmCham events and meetings. We will organize online meetings and seminars in the coming weeks.

  • Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and tobacco shops operate are open at regular hours. You are advised to shop alone, pay with card and refrain from stockpiling.

  • Restaurants, cafés and non-essential stores (clothing stores, tech stores) remain open until 3 p.m. Takeaway is available at several establishments after 3 p.m. You are recommended to order online.

  • Bars and pubs are closed.

  • Post offices remain open beyond 3 p.m., but you are advised against visiting post offices.

  • Banks have begun announcing restriced opening hours. You may be required to schedule an appointment.

  • Record offices, government agencies are open for scheduled appointments only. You are recommended to use e-services instead. Expiring official documents (i.e. ID, driving licence) are extended to 15 days after the state of emergency is ended by the government.

  • Schools and universities are closed.

  • Cinemas, theaters and other cultural factilities are closed.

  • Gyms were not ordered to close, but you are advised against going.

  • You are recommended to avoid parks, malls and large public areas.

border

The Hungarian border is closed for passenger transport, only Hungarian citizens are allowed to enter the country.

The restriction applies to all road, railway, water and air borders.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has set up a working group to organize the return of Hungarians stranded abroad. They will be flown to Budapest by Polish airline LOT.

Hungary and Romania to reopen shared border for key workers living within 30km radius of the border.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Public transportation in Budapest remains operational.

Please note that you can no longer purchase tickets from drivers. You are encouraged to use e-tickets.

Please minize physical contact with handrails, doors and buttons. Please avoid contact with other passengers. Clean your hands after using public transportation.

For AmCham COVID 19 updates and Member Offers, please click here.

Health & Safety Advice

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease, but there are a lot of measures we can take to limit our exposure.

CLEAN YOUR HANDS:

Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol. Clean your hands before and after every meal.

Please note that wearing rubber gloves in public is not an effective method of protecting yourself from infection since gloves get contaminated. Regular washing your hands offers more protection than gloves.

PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING, STAY HOME

If possible, work from home. Do not invite guests over. Avoid gatherings, public transportation, taxis and car-sharing. Refrain from using non-essential services outside.

The elderly are encouraged to stay indoors. Local councils will be obliged to organize supplies for them.


DO NOT WEAR A MASK IF YOU ARE HEALTHY

Facemasks are in short supply and they should be saved for medical professionals and caregivers. Wear a mask if you are sick to protect others. Change your mask frequently. Once used, throw the mask in the trash immediately.

AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE

Viruses that affect the respiratory system enter the body through mucosal membranes which are found in the nose, oral cavity and lips. With poor hand hygiene, it's easy to acquire a viral infection this way.

COVER YOUR MOUSE AND NOSE WHEN SNEEZING AND COUGHING

Use a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands immediately.

AVOID PHYSICAL CONTACT WITH OTHERS:


Avoid handshakes, hugs, kisses and keep an approximate 2 meter distance between yourself and others.


CLEAN AND DISINFECT FREQUENTLY TOUCHED OBJECTS AND SURFACES:

Etc: phones, tablets, keyboards, tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles.

KEEP TWO WEEKS WORTH OF SUPPLIES, BUT DO NOT HOARD

  • Do not buy more food and medicine than you need. Be mindful of others.
  • Support local businesses: order from local restaurants, use local services, buy from local stores.

IF YOU FEEL SICK, STAY HOME AND CALL YOUR DOCTOR FOR ADVICE

If you need more information, please visit koronavirus.gov.hu or call the Hungarian government's toll-free coronavirus hotline (+36 80 277 455, +36 80 277 456)

MYTHBUSTING

  • Hot temperatures, warm weather does not stop the spread of the virus. Cold weather cannot kill the virus either. Coronavirus can be transmitted in all areas regardless of weather conditions.

  • Pets cannot transmit the coronavirus to humans, but avoid touching animals as their fur or skin can be contaminated.

  • Pneumonia vaccines do not protect from the virus. We do not have a vaccine for COVID-19 yet.

  • The elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill from the virus, but in general, people of all ages can be infected by COVID-19.

  • Antibiotics are not effective against COVID-19. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

  • Currently there is no proven medicine recommended to prevent or treat COVID-19.

  • Masks cannot be reused. Masks cannot be cleaned or sterilized. Replace your mask immediately if it becomes damp. Do not touch your mask without washing your hands first or else the mask becomes contaminated.