Free pizzas, free accommodation: Hungarians respond to the crisis with acts of kindness

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Milan Varga saved three years to be able to open his small pizzeria in Budapest last Monday. On Tuesday, its customers all but disappeared as the streets emptied due to the coronavirus outbreak.

With plenty of ingredients in store, Varga quickly changed her plans and joined a growing number of Hungarians who responded to the crisis with acts of kindness. He now delivers free pizzas to the elderly who have to isolate themselves at home.

“If I can’t sell pizza, at least I can help those in need by giving them free pizza if they voluntarily quarantine themselves, and so I try to take care of them and m ‘make sure they stay home,’ the 20-year-old said. said old man.

Varga now delivers half of its daily pizza production free of charge.

As the central European country has closed its borders to foreign citizens and closed schools to contain the spread of the coronavirus, more and more Hungarians have decided to help the elderly and vulnerable, as well as health workers who will pay the price of the crisis.

Members of the “Budapest Airbnb community for the health workers” Facebook group, which now has more than 1,200 members, offer their apartments to nurses and other health personnel who wish to isolate themselves to protect their families. Budapest had more than 10,000 Airbnb apartments before the crisis hit, and the business collapsed overnight as tourists disappeared.

“We think those who can should help those who do the real work with stocks, with money, with kind words – we have no idea of ​​the four walls at home on the difficulties that agents of. health are currently going through, ”said Viktoria Hojer-Szabo, who owns three Airbnb apartments in Budapest.

A nurse at the Budapest Central Hospital treating coronavirus patients now lives in one of her apartments. So far, 43 healthcare workers have moved into vacant Airbnb apartments.

On Lake Balaton, Hungary’s main summer vacation destination, Gergely Toth, manager of the Sunshine Hotel in the town of Siofok, offered hotel rooms to Hungarians who returned from working abroad and having had to spend two weeks in quarantine.

Many people employed on Lake Balaton during the summer work abroad during the winter season. There are 39 people in the hotel now, which gives them free meals.

“I… assumed they couldn’t afford to isolate themselves from their families here,” Toth said.

Reporting by Krisztina Fenyo, writing by Krisztina Than; Editing by Giles Elgood

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