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Photo: MTI/Balázs Attila

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony on Sunday called on the government to allow mayors to close or reduce opening hours of shops that do not offer essential supplies.

In a Facebook post, Karácsony said several European cities have made similar decisions as the epidemic intensifies. Shops offering goods that are not essential for everyday living are unnecessary meeting points, he said, adding that opening hours either should be shortened or non-essential shops should be closed altogether in order to contain the virus.

Shops selling daily supplies, tobacco products, medical equipment or fuel, as well as pharmacies, post offices and banks could be exempt from such a measure, Karácsony said.

The state of emergency which the government announced on Wednesday allows the government to hand such powers to local authorities. Councils could then tailor their response to the new coronavirus according to their own needs, he said.

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