From Saturday, the wearing of a mask in enclosed spaces will be compulsory, Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, told a regular government news briefing on Thursday.Gulyás also said booster jabs are now compulsory for health-care staff. Plans are also afoot for the same in state administration, he added.
Mask-wearing will be compulsory in shops, malls, museums, theatres, cinemas and in areas open to the public in government offices. Using masks on public transport will continue to be compulsory, he said. Events with more than 500 people attending can still be attended with an immunity certificate, he said. Also, mask-wearing will be mandatory wherever more than five people are regularly present in a shop. In schools, it will be up to head teachers to decide whether it is compulsory to wear a mask, he added.
Offices and sports facilities will be continue to be mask-free.
Gulyás said modelling indicated that the fourth wave would peak in late November or early December, though, he added, making such predictions was risky.
Expert were agreed, he said, that vaccination was the only truly effective protection against Covid, especially the delta variant, and he cited the examples of Israel and the United States where booster shots had proved effective. The government, he added, recommended a booster jab for everyone from the fourth month on.
People who refused to be vaccinated put the health and lives of others at risk,
he said, adding that the government had been forced to make mask-wearing compulsory for this reason. From Nov. 22 to 28, the government is rolling out a vaccination campaign with an increased number of designated vaccination points in hospitals, with no requirement for registration.
Meanwhile, Gulyás said that while the incumbent Fidesz government holds power, capped utility bills would be here to stay. Gulyás said it was welcome that the price of fuel at the pump had been capped throughout Hungary thanks to government intervention, and that all fuel stations had complied. The tax authority will be checking fuel quality from Wednesday, he added.
Small businesses will be given the opportunity to join a universal energy provider so as to benefit from lower bills, he said. Lower overheads and fuel prices will help to keep inflation in check, Gulyas added.
Commenting on the reports concerning alleged plans to sell Budapest’s City Hall, he insisted that the administration of Gergely Karácsony
was in a state of “chaos”
and, given the mayor had publicly rebuked a subordinate, the question of his credibility was hanging in the balance. Also, there was the question of whether he had been in possession of the relevant information, he added.
Whereas Karácsony had promised to create a park in the courtyard of City Hall and renovate the building, it transpired that the courtyard would continue to serve as a car park, while the building was in a worse condition than ever, Gulyás said.