Hungary issues emergency decree in response to pandemic


As part of the Hungary's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on 27 March the Hungarian government issued an emergency decree, which heightens restrictions, further limits the movement of people within the country and provides special shopping hours for senior citizens.

This decree, based on Article 53(2) and powers vested in Article 15(1) of the Constitution, goes into force on Saturday 28 March 2020 and will remain in place until Saturday 11 April.

The decree further restricts the lawful ability of Hungarians to leave their homes, allowing individuals to venture out of doors for "significant reasons" only, which include attending to work or business, delivering underage children to daycare facilities (the size of which are limited), seeking healthcare treatments, getting exercise (e.g. walking or jogging), and attending marriage or funeral services (the size of which are also limited).

Individuals are permitted to leave their homes to shop at food stores, pharmacies, animal food stores, agricultural outlets, markets, medical supply shops, petrol stations, tobacco shops, and automotive or bike shops. Individuals can visit hairdressing and nail salons, and messenger services or waste-management services.

In a bid to protect senior citizens from infection, the government has decreed specific shopping hours according to age and vulnerability. Seniors 65 years and older are to shop between 9 am and 12 pm daily; all other individuals must conduct their shopping outside of these hours.

When absolutely necessary, individuals can visit banks, post offices or insurance companies.

Individuals can also walk pets, care for children ("exercise parental rights and duties") and participate in "faith-related activities". 

People can also leave their home to care for the elderly, ill or under-aged, but when outside of the house for any of these "significant reasons" individuals must maintain the recommended 1.5 metre distance from other individuals with whom they are not residing. 

The Hungarian police, military police and other authorities will enforce these measures. Any violators will be fined with sanctions set at between HUF 5,000 and HUF 500,000 (EUR 14 and EUR 1400 approximately).

For a full list of the measures see a translation of the decree below and for further information contact your regular CMS advisor in Hungary or local CMS expert Erika Papp.


1.1 Everyone must restrict social distances – with the exception of persons living in the same household – to the highest possible extent and keep if possible at least 1.5 m distance from the other person.

1.2) This also applies to public transportation.

It is not permitted to stay on  premises of hospitality industry such as  restaurants and bars etc.  with the  exception of persons employed by such restaurants and bars. Further exception from this rule is handing over and delivery of food for the purposes of home delivery.

3-4.1 One may only leave his/her residence only based on significant reasons set herein:

  • Carrying out work, vocational duties, business, agricultural or forestry activities and shopping for materials necessary for performing the above, in a shop selling such materials (especially technical products, building products and building appliances).
  • Taking under-aged kids to daycare (daycare of small groups)
  • Using healthcare services including healthcare services aiming at preserving body and mental health (especially psychotherapeutic, physiotherapeutic treatments).
  • Individual sports activities and private walking pursuant to Clause 5.

  • Marriage and funeral ceremonies in small family circle.

  • Shopping in food stores.

  • Shopping in drug stores.

  • Shopping in animal food stores.

  • Shopping in agricultural stores including, slaughter houses and shops selling agricultural fertilisers.

  • Shopping in market places.

  • Shopping in pharmacies and shops selling pharmaceutical aid equipment.

  • Going to petrol stations.

  • Shopping in tobacco shops.

  • Using hairdresser and nail salons.

  • Using cleaning and messenger services.

  • Using services of auto and bike shops, agricultural and forestry  machinery and equipment repair shops.

  • Using waste management services.

  • Only in the most necessary cases, using bank, financial, insurance, postal and other government services.

  • Providing for animals, walking pets, visiting animal hospital and veterinary services.

  • Exercising parental rights and duties.

  • Faith-related activities.

3-4.2 Furthermore,a “significant reason” is also - subject to the social distancing requirements set out in point 1. - to help and provide assistance to underage, elderly and ill persons.

5. Individual sports activities and personal walking activities can be exercised either inside or outside of town - if possible in green areas – either alone or together with persons living in the same household and keeping at least 1.5 meter distance from third parties.

6.1. Elderly people above 65 years of age may, in their own and their families’ interest, visit food stores, drug stores, market places or pharmacies only between 9 am and 12 pm.

6.2. Only people above 65 years of age may go to food stores, drug stores, market places and pharmacies between 9 am and 12 pm, with the exception of employees of such stores.

7. The restrictions set out in 1.1, 2, and 6.2 shall be enforced by, and shall be the responsibility of the persons operating such stores.

7.1 The police, the military police and other authorities providing for public order shall enforce the restrictions set out in this decree.

7.2 Non-compliance with the restrictions set out in this decree shall be enforced based on the requirement of necessity and proportionality by the police and the other authorities set out above.

9.1 Anyone violating the restrictions set out in this decree shall commit a misdemeanour pursuant to Act II of 2012 1 (1).

9.2 Violation with the restrictions set out above shall be punishable with minimum 5.000 maximum 500.000 HUF fine.

Furthermore, clause 1 of government decree 46/2020 (III.16.) on pandemic measures shall not apply.