Budapest will need a supply of at least one million FFP2 face masks with particle filters over the coming period in light of the spread of the novel coronavirus, Mayor Gergely Karácsony said. The masks would primarily serve to protect health-care and social sector workers, Karácsony told an online press conference streamed on his Facebook page. In addition, at least another 5 million surgical masks are needed to be distributed to the public, he said. Karácsony said the metropolitan council had notified the government both of its own supply needs and those of the capital’s districts on Friday, adding that the capital is doing everything it can to procure the necessary protective equipment. He said ensuring the supply of the necessary protective gear was not a question of money, adding, at the same time, that the equipment was hard to get hold of.
Meanwhile, Karácsony announced that from March to June the city council will not collect rent from small and medium-sized companies that rent space from the city council. Further, the capital will create the legal conditions to exempt businesses that do not lay off staff from paying rent for the period in question in the future either, he added. On the subject of parking, Karácsony said that following talks between the metropolitan council and Budapest’s shopping malls, the city’s Arena and MOM Park malls have agreed to provide free parking in their parking lots. Talks with the other malls are still ongoing, he added. The mayor also said that several hundreds of Budapesters in various districts have got involved in helping to look after the elderly. He thanked car-sharing services MOL Limo and GreenGo for offering their services to be used free of charge when it comes to caring for elderly residents. Deputy Mayor Gábor Kerpel-Fronius said the metropolitan council has launched its own website providing updates about the coronavirus outbreak, which can be accessed at koronavirus.budapest.hu.