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Villages closing to visitors

April 9th, 2020

As Budapest and other towns are reported to be the hotbeds of the coronavirus infection, the left-wing nationwide daily reports that city dwellers are not welcome in smaller settlements.

In a new split within Hungarian society, rural Hungarians are increasingly opposed to allowing visits by city dwellers, Népszava’s Judit Doros and András Vas report. They quote the example of Rigács, a little-known small village northwest of Lake Balaton where even relatives of local residents have been barred from visiting at Easter. The mayor is threatening to impose tough fines on anyone defying the ban. The journalists remark that he doesn’t have such powers, but since limitations on movement are still in force, and visiting parents is not listed in the decree among the exceptions, he can denounce visitors to the police who will certainly fine them. In a similar vein, they report, Hollókő, the only Hungarian village on the list of the UNESCO world heritage (for its intact 17th and 18th century architecture) has banned visitors from trespassing in its precincts. The local inhabitants will celebrate Easter as usual wearing traditional folk costumes, but for the first time in decades, visitors will not be allowed in and the parking lots have been barricaded. What the reporters find new and worrying in all this, is the animosity villagers have begun to show towards city dwellers.

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