As Easter approaches, more and more places in Hungary, especially those generally popular among tourists, are asking people not to visit and some of them have even introduced strict restrictions. Budapest is considering closing Margaret Island, while several other towns are trying to keep tourists away through municipal measures.
In an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, Hungary’s government introduced restrictions on movement in late-March. Although most people have observed the extraordinary rules from the get-go, there are also many not too concerned about the ordered measures.
Due to this, and the upcoming Easter weekend, the political leadership of countless towns and villages have already imposed strict restrictions.
Several districts in Budapest are preparing to close car parks near their popular tourist sites in order to avoid crowds from forming over the long weekend, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony told news site Index.
The capital wants to take these steps as part of a unified communication with the districts and have already begun preparations for the possible restriction on visits to Margaret Island, he added.
They want to wait for the government’s decision on general restrictions on Thursday afternoon.
(Update: the government has since made the announcement. The restrictions on movement have been extended indefinitely.)
Meanwhile, several other places have been flooded by tourists in recent days, so the mayor of many towns are asking tourists not to visit and have also issued preventive measures, closing parking lots for Easter.
Hollókő, Velence, Tokaj, Szentendre, Zebegény, Gánt, and Bakonybél, among others, will try to keep tourists away with municipal measures.
The municipality of the UNESCO world heritage site Hollókő, which is famous for its historic wooden houses and Easter festival, is also asking people not to visit during the coming holiday.
The village of 330 residents, usually hosting up to 15,000 guests during this time of year, will also cancel the traditional celebrations this year, daily Népszava writes.
Hollókő, the “Living Village”
“We will also close the car parks, fencing them off with tape, and we hope that no tourists want to come here, although they are indeed welcomed guests at other times,” said Mayor Csaba Szabó, adding that they would ask for police help if necessary.
All Tokaj car parks will be closed due to the threat of the epidemic for Easter and the following weekends, the local government of the town said.
The tightening was necessary because, despite the restrictions on movement, many tourists spent the sunny afternoon last weekend outside in Tokaj as well.
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The measures affect all municipal car parks, and most paid car parks will not be opened as well. During the epidemic, they ask everyone not to visit the town, famed for its wine and vineyards.
“Szentendre will be closed to tourists on Easter,” the town’s local government, known for its historic architecture and museums stated on its website.
In a statement sent to state newswire MTI on Wednesday, the municipality writes that the experience of recent weeks has shown that despite the restrictions, mobs of tourists have visited the city center and the banks of the Danube on the weekends.
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The municipality of Velence is also restricting parking in the city from Wednesday afternoon.
The situation is the same in the towns and villages around Lake Balaton. The mayors of Balatonfenyves, Tihany, and Alsóörs also urged those wishing to hike and relax to take the measures against the epidemic more seriously and rather stay home at Easter.
In Siófok, those entering shops, offices, or service providers without face masks are being fined as of last Saturday. Strict measures were also introduced in Tihany.
Sport activities and hiking can be much more dangerous anyway, as the safe distance between people decreases significantly while we keep moving, a recent study found.
Featured photo by Péter Komka/MTI