In light of the second wave of COVID-19, Hungary introduced a partial curfew, restricted the opening hours of shops and took a few measures to protect the economy.

From midnight 11th November 2020, a curfew is in effect between 8 pm and 5 am which means that everyone must leave the streets by 8 pm and stay at their place of residence or accommodation until 5 am. There are only few exceptions when citizens may be on the streets legally, such as an event of a threat to health, danger to life or serious harm, performing work and transport between the place of work and the place of residence, stay or accommodation. Staying outside related to work must be proved – a sample of the certificate is available on the government website.

In restaurants only pickup and home delivery services shall be available, there is no possibility for consuming on the spot, save for workplace canteens. Restaurant services during this period shall be subject to a reduced VAT of 5%. Only guests away for business or educational purposes can stay in hotels. Shops must close at 7pm and shall not open before 5am. Pharmacies and petrol stations may remain open.

Rules on mandatory mask wearing and sanctions for not proper use remain in place, meaning that wearing a mask properly is still mandatory in public transportation, shops, restaurants and public offices. This regulation has been amended with the rule that wearing a mask is mandatory in certain public places of cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants. Designation of such areas is the responsibility of the mayors. In Budapest, according to the decisions of the district mayors, the use of masks is mandatory in most districts. According to the government decree, it is forbidden to hold groupings or gatherings in public areas or public places, and it is also forbidden to hold meetings or events. Team sports are not allowed either.

Violation of regulations and prohibitions introduced by the government decree (such as the provisions on wearing a mask and the outdoor access restrictions) is a misdemeanour, in which case a fine between HUF 5,000 – 500,000 may be imposed.

The Government re-introduces the administrative facilitation applied during the first wave of COVID-19, which allows B2C commercial activities outside shops and delivery services to be carried out without prior notification and registration.

In order to mitigate the economic impact of the above restrictions, companies acting in certain industries are eligible to a tax benefit, such as:

  • restaurant, mobile catering
  • event catering
  • beverage services
  • film screening
  • organizing conferences

The tax benefit is that the taxpayers defined in the decree are exempted from paying social security tax, vocational training contribution and training development contribution in November 2020, and during this period, labour costs shall not be accounted to the base of small business tax (KIVA).

These benefits are available if the company fulfils its obligation to pay wages in employment contracts existing at the time the regulation entered into force and it does not terminate the contracts of these employees by notice during this period.

The companies and service providers listed above are eligible for wage subsidies. Under this regime, 50% of the gross wage of the employee can be compensated by the state if the employment relationship exists on the last day of the subsidy period and the employer pays up all wages.

Regarding accommodation services, for service providers registered with the National Tourism Data Supply Center, the state shall reimburse 80% of the net sales revenue calculated for bookings registered until 8 November 2020.