In recent months, hygiene rules have been relaxed in connection with the first wave of the COVID-19 Virus in Hungary, and while many of the restrictive measures imposed by the government have been lifted, the pandemic still exists. According to the latest news, the number of infected people in the surrounding countries is rising again, so it is crucial to follow the resounding rule: on public transport services, it is mandatory to cover your face with a mask or a scarf. Although the majority of Budapest’s travellers follow the rules, the discipline when wearing masks is becoming increasingly relaxed.
Although the infection rate in Hungary is currently low, the COVID-19 infection risk is far from over. This is why, our faces in public transport and at stops in the capital must continue to be covered with a mask – or if it is missing, with a scarf or a bandana. The mask will only protect you if it is worn properly: not by hanging from your chin, neck, or ear, but by covering your mouth and nose as much as possible to prevent you from inhaling the virus. By following this rule, we are protecting not only ourselves, but also the health of our fellow travellers. As the virus can linger for up to two weeks and a considerable number of infected people gets through the virus without symptoms, it is important that the mask catches the exhaled air and the possible cough of the wearer.
The government and the capital’s decree that makes mask wearing mandatory remains in force, and the BKK draws attention to its compliance on all available interfaces: through the external and internal surfaces of public transport vehicles, through the loud announcers at metro stations, with messages running on public displays, and on social media. Despite this, experience has shown that the discipline of wearing masks had been loosening in the recent months among the travelling people in Budapest. Whilst nearly 100 percent of the passengers followed the rule when it was introduced, according to an unrepresentative BKK survey, the figure currently ranges at around 85 percent. One of the causes of the setback is assuredly the hot weather of the summer, however it is equally important to wear a mask in the heat as it is in pleasant temperatures.
The use of the masks is mainly supervised by BKK inspectors and BKK passenger coordinators, who, if necessary, will advise you to follow the rule and put on your mask. All others who continue to disobey the rule and compromise the health of their fellow passengers can be removed from BKK transport vehicles. It is important to know that the inspectors themselves are obliged to wear masks, which the BKK Centre for Budapest Transport provides with other necessary protective equipment to carry out their work. If a BKK employee proves that he or she is not complying with the health regulations, the BKK will impose consequences under labour law. It is also important to note, that the wearing of masks by drivers is neither prohibited nor mandatory, as most of them are seated in an enclosed driving area that provides adequate physical protection against the virus. (However, they are obliged to wear masks when walking among the passengers or when opening wheelchair ramps).
Budapest, 14 August 2020
Centre for Budapest Transport