The government’s aim is to prevent a second wave of the novel coronavirus epidemic and has decided to maintain the current level of restrictions, said Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office.
In April, the government announced that events larger than 500 people cannot be held until August 15th. A number of concerts and festivals were postponed to the end of August and several were canceled as an impact of the decision.
Although it seemed that the music industry may start up again in the middle of next month, two weeks ago, Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics said in an interview that further relaxation of the restrictions was not expected and events larger than 500 people more than likely would not be given the green light.
Meanwhile, many musicians have expressed their dissatisfaction over the government’s decision on not easing the restrictions on concerts, because the ban on mass events was lifted in the case of sporting events, like football matches. The procrastination also seriously affected the industry since planning became impossible.
In July, the Orbán government also decided to cancel the “bigger than ever” festival and fireworks planned for the August 20th national holiday, which, considering how important this event was for the government, cast a shadow on the fate of non-governmental mass events planned for forthcoming weeks.
In line with Minister Palkovics’s earlier words, PMO Head Gulyás announced on Thursday that the current ban on gatherings of more than 500 people will be extended after August 15th. He explained that although the number of cases is not rapidly increasing in Hungary, the pandemic situation in neighboring countries is worse than before. The government aims to avoid a second wave in order to allow schools to start on September 1st.
The government promises to provide HUF 5.3 billion (EUR 15,3 million) in financial support to the music industry, Gulyás highlighted. He added that “garage concerts” are also supported by the government. The Hungarian Tourism Agency will provide the financial support. He also said that gypsy bands will receive this support as well.
Featured photo illustration by Boglárka Bodnár/MTI