Special Legal Order and the State of Danger in Hungary: Government decrees issued between 15 and 24 May, 2020

  • The Government of Hungary declared state of danger on 11 March 2020 via Government Decree 40/2020. (III. 11.). The state of danger extends to the entire territory of Hungary for the elimination of the consequences of the human epidemic endangering life and property and causing massive disease outbreaks.
  • In response to the pandemic situation, DLA Piper Hungary has launched a new series called ‘Special Legal Order and the State of Danger in Hungary‘, through which Noémi Radnai and Gábor Papp, legal experts of the firm summarize the special legislation issued during the emergency period. The series so far explored the basics related to the state of danger and summarized the Government Decrees issued by the Government of Hungary under the state of danger in March, the first and second half of April, and the first half of May.
  • The following summary covers the period between 14 May and 25 May – please note that the below offers a high-level overview rather than a comprehensive summary and cannot be considered legal advice.

1. Government Decree 207/2020 (15 May)

  • Lifts the restriction of movement in Pest County (the county surrounding the capital).
  • Lays down rules for the next phase of protection measures, which must be applied throughout the country, with the exception of the capital.
  • Restaurants can be visited by observing the protective distance (1,5 metres). Staff shall wear protective face masks.
  • Hotels may be opened according to the above rules.
  • Open-air playgrounds may be visited.
  • From 1 June 2020, family events with no more than 200 attendees can be held, including weddings at restaurants and hotels.

2. Government Decree 208/2020 (15 May)

  • The final construction permit, construction framework permit, installation permit or demolition permit expiring during the state of danger is by force of law extended for another year from the date of the end of the state of danger.
  • Those permits that expire within 180 days after the cessation of the state of danger will also be extended by one year from the expiry of the permit..
  • Similar rules apply to archaeological exploration or heritage protection permits.

3. Government Decree 209/2020 (15 May)

  • Introduces tax exemptions for aviation companies in terms of social contribution tax and vocational training contribution.

4. Government Decree 211/2020 (16 May)

  • The restriction of movement is lifted in Budapest.
  • Social distancing of 1.5 metres must be observed.
  • Wearing a mask (or a scarf) is obligatory in shops and in public transportation.
  • Persons over the age of 65 can still only go shopping between 9 am and 12 pm.
  • Outdoor areas of shops and restaurants can be opened subject to certain rules.
  • In the case of catering businesses, it is only possible to stay on the terrace or in the garden, observing the safety distance (per table), which is overseen by the operator. Until 1 September 2020, catering businesses are not obliged to pay public land use fee.
  • Outdoor playgrounds, beaches, outdoor baths, outdoor museums and zoos shall be open to the public.
  • Religious ceremonies as well as weddings and funerals may be held.
  • From 15 June 2020 onwards, family events relating to a funeral or marriage may be held with no more than 200 attendees. Wedding parties may be held at restaurants or hotels as well.
  • Universities may be opened, subject to the decision of the rector. Dormitories remain closed.

5. Government Decree 212/2020 (16 May)

  • The Hungarian Intellectual Property Office may issue compulsory public health permit in order to meet domestic needs related to the health crisis situation.

6. Government Decree 213/2020 (16 May)

  • Due to the increased risk of infection, hospitality businesses and shops may only use cooling and heating systems with external air intake.

7. Government Decree 215/2020 (20 May)

  • From 25 May 2020, kindergartens and nurseries operating outside Budapest will start operating normally. Children will be admitted according to the legal conditions for participation in pre-school education and nursery care, without prescribing additional conditions.
  • From June 2, 2020, kindergartens and nurseries in Budapest will operate in the usual order.
  • Kindergartens and nurseries may only be closed for a maximum of two weeks during the summer.
  • Children’s and youth summer camps may be held from 16 June 2020 onwards.

8. Government Decree 216/2020 (21 May)

  • Both Austrian and Hungarian citizens may enter the territory of Hungary from Austria without restrictions, provided that the results of a molecular biological test – SARS-CoV-2 test conducted not earlier than 4 days before entry – evidences the lack of infection.
  • If the person concerned suspects COVID-19 infection within 14 days of entering Hungary, s/he must keep voluntary self-quarantine and notify the epidemiological authority immediately (by telephone).
  • The same rules shall apply to EEA citizens holding a (Hungarian) residence card.
  • The above rules do not apply to border crossings in freight traffic.

9. Government Decree 218/2020 (21 May) 

  • Slovak citizens are free to enter the territory of Hungary from Slovakia without any restrictions, provided that their stay in the country does not exceed 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, the persons concerned are either obliged to leave Hungary, or the rules set out in Government Decree 81/2020 (1 April) shall apply. Namely, a health check will be required with the possible outcome of the obligation to be (self) quarantined.
  • The above rules do not apply to border crossings in freight traffic.

10. Government Decree 219/2020 (21 May) 

  • During the state of danger, driving licenses may be issued without proof of passing the first aid exam.

11. Government Decree 220/2020 (22 May) 

  • From 2 June 2020 to 15 June 2020 schools may organize individual or small-group sessions in person if necessary for supplementing digital learning.
  • Between 2 June 2020 and 26 June 2020, all primary and secondary schools shall organize student supervision.

12. Government Decree 221/2020 (22 May) 

  • The deadline for new schools to apply for an operation permit is 30 June 2020.

13. Government Decree 224/2020 (22 May) 

  • The Hungarian Government, may assume obligation to meet a debt-based payment requirement undertaken by the European Commission on behalf of the European Union and to provide a loan or guarantee by a financial institution jointly owned by the Member States of the European Union.

14. Government Decree 225/2020 (22 May) 

  • The exemption from social tax contribution concerning fringe benefits transferred by the employer to Széchenyi Pihenő Card shall be extended until 31 December 2020.

15. Government Decree 226/2020 (25 May)

  • Serbian and Hungarian citizens travelling from Serbia may enter the territory of Hungary without restrictions.
  • In case they notice a symptom of COVID-19 infection within 14 days of entry, they must not leave their place of residence or stay and must notify the epidemiological authority by telephone immediately.
  • The same rules shall apply to EEA citizens entitled to permanent residence.
  • The regulation does not cover border crossings in freight traffic.

You can read the previous parts of the series at the following links:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Authors: Gábor Papp and Noémi Randnai


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