New Restrictions due to COVID-19

The Presidential Council of RCH released new guidelines for congregations in accordance with the strict rules introduced by the Government on 9 November, including curfew, closure of businesses and serious limitation of social events.

“In a serious emergency, the Government has introduced a number of mandatory measures to protect our health. Confirming our previous announcements, we ask that you fully adhere to all of them. In line with those, the Presidential Council publishes further recommendations,” reads the document.

Congregations are encouraged to offer more worship services on Sundays in churches where keeping the mandatory physical distance cannot be ensured. There should be a ventilation break of at least half an hour between services and benches shall be disinfected. It is also mandatory to wear a mask in the church and refrain from shaking hands after the service.

Should a pastor be sick or quarantined, worship service in person should be avoided and held online. Switching to online services is recommended also in settlements with an imminent health risk due to the high infection rate. Pastors are requested to inform community members and church authorities swiftly. Links to broadcasted Sunday worships will also be share on the official website of RCH.

The Council calls upon church members to pray for patients, nurses, paramedics, medical doctors, the staff of the testing laboratories and the decision makers just like for families in grief. “Let us pray that the God of grace will take away this evil from us and bring us deliverance,” closes the declaration issued today.

The Hungarian Government announced serious restrictions for the period of the next 30 days. Preventive measures are listed below:

  • A curfew between 8:00 PM and 5:00 AM. “Everyone must be home by eight,” the PM said, except for emergencies, work, or commuting to and from work.
  • A general ban on gatherings.
  • Restaurants must close (except workplace cafeterias), only deliveries allowed. Gyms, indoor pools, museums, theatres, zoos, and other indoor recreational spaces must be closed as well. Employers in these sectors will not have to pay contributions after their employees for this period, and the state will pay 50% of their salaries, if employees are paid and there are no lay-offs.
  • Shops, hairdressers, other services must be closed by 7:00 PM.
  • Hotels can only host guests who travel for business purposes. For the first thirty days, the state will reimburse hotels for 80% of the bookings made until 8 November, if their employees are properly paid and there are no lay-offs.
  • A general ban on public events; family and private events cannot be attended by more than 10 people. Weddings are allowed, but only with people who must be there: the couple, their parents, the witnesses, and the registrars/priest. Funerals can have at most 50 mourners.
  • Sports events must be held behind closed doors.
  • Recreational and amateur team sports are banned. Individual sports are allowed outdoors.
  • Secondary schools (above 8th grade) and higher education must switch to remote learning. University dorms must close. Schools and kindergartens are to remain open for children under 14 years, where teachers must undergo weekly testing, even if the rapid tests used for this purpose are not that accurate.