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May 14, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

Gergely Gulyás: Additional easing of movement restrictions in Budapest may come later this week

Minister Gulyás announced that current rules remain in force in the countryside, but movement restrictions in Pest County will be eased to the level of the countryside, with a decision on Budapest expected later this week.

At today’s Government Info press conference, Gergely Gulyás, the minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office, said that after looking at current data, the government decided yesterday that regulations for social distancing and the use of face masks will remain in force. However, “Pest County is now considered one unit with the countryside” and will thus follow the same rules, Gulyás said. Regarding Budapest, the government is awaiting feedback from district mayors until 3 p.m. this afternoon, after which the Operational Group will decide on any easing of restrictions tomorrow or Saturday at the latest.

Gulyás also noted that “outside Budapest, further easings are possible, and people can now remain inside restaurants and cafés with their masks on,” adding that “playgrounds can open on Monday and hotels may accept guests in the countryside.” He also reported that there is no decision on schools as of yet. “It is known that there will be no schooling until June 2, and there is no decision yet whether schools will open for the rest of the school year after that. According to the Ministry of Human Capacities, the closing of the school year is not endangered even if students can’t return to school at all in June.”

Responding to a question from the press, Alexandra Szentkirály, spokesperson of the Government, said that “restrictions on events still remain in force, but weddings with a maximum of 200 people can be held in the countryside and Pest County starting June 1.”

Answering another question, Gergely Gulyás said that “if the situation does not change, the government can return the authorization for the emergency period at the end of June.”

In connection with the debate on "Emergency Legislation in Hungary and its impact on the Rule of Law and fundamental rights" in the European Parliament, Minister Gulyás said that “witch hunts, show trials are taking place against Hungary in the European Parliament,” adding that “the verdict had already been written in advance and even the speech of the Minister of Justice had been banned.”

“These procedures only serve to undermine the EU's image and people’s trust in the common institutions […] This procedure is intolerable and unacceptable and has nothing to do with the rule of law or the fundamental values of the EU,” the minister said.