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Mar 25, 2020

Coronavirus Update: Government alone has the authority to impose curfew restrictions

The Hungarian government alone has the authority to impose curfew restrictions, the regulations in force during a state of emergency do not allow mayors to impose curfew restrictions or a full curfew in relation to the free movement of residents in their settlements.

The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement this afternoon underlining how the government alone has the authority to impose curfew restrictions, the regulations in force during a state of emergency do not allow mayors to impose curfew restrictions or a full curfew in relation to the free movement of residents in their settlements.

The statement says the Hungarian government is doing everything it can to slow down the spread of the virus, in the interest of protecting the Hungarian people’s health, and as part of these efforts, based on the recommendations of the Operational Group, it adopted the necessary measures in a timely manner and will continue to do so in the future. 

The Prime Minister’s Office draws attention to the fact that, pursuant to the provisions of the disaster management legislation, in a state of emergency the government has the authority to introduce extraordinary measures to the extent and in the territory necessary for warding off the disaster. They lay down that, according to the regulations in force, in the context of the recently declared state of emergency, clearly the government alone has the authority to introduce any restrictions or prohibitions in relation to the movement of members of the public in public places. 

The communication says, based on the relevant legislation, in a state of emergency, the mayor exercises the responsibilities and powers of the settlement’s board of councilors; this is also clearly laid down in the law on local governments. This, however, does not give a mayor the authority to impose partial or full curfew restrictions on the free movement of a settlement’s residents. 

The decisions adopted by a mayor during a state of emergency must be lawful, and the powers laid down in the local government legislation must be exercised by mayors in good faith, with regard to the principle of mutual cooperation, in accordance with their social purpose, they stressed. 

The communication further highlights that the review procedures of government offices also extend to decisions adopted by mayors during a state of emergency, and if a government office detects a breach, it must take the necessary measures forthwith within the framework of its review powers. 

In the past few days, in some settlements – according to press reports, in Polgár in Hajdú-Bihar County and in Sződliget in Pest County – the free movement of residents has been partially restricted. 

A call center set up for advice on the coronavirus can be reached on +36-80-277-455 and +36-80-277-456 or by email koronavirus@bm.gov.hu