- Title: Free pizzas, free housing: Hungarians respond to crisis with acts of kindness
- Date: 23rd March 2020
- Summary: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (MARCH 20, 2020) (REUTERS) OWNER OF MILAN'S PIZZA MILAN GABOR VARGA PUTTING TOMATO SAUCE ON PIZZA VARIOUS OF VARGA PUTTING TOPPINGS ON PIZZA VARGA PUTTING PIZZA INTO OVEN VARGA TAKING PIZZA OUT OF OVEN (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) OWNER OF MILAN PIZZA, MILAN GABOR VARGA, SAYING: "The first day I opened I did relatively good business, but on the second day, I sold only three pizzas. It got me thinking that if I cannot sell pizzas at least I can help those in need by giving them free pizzas if they voluntarily put themselves into quarantine and thus I am trying to look after them and make sure they stay at home." VARGA WALKING WITH PIZZA VARGA DELIVERING PIZZA TO ELDERLY RESIDENT ERZSEBET TOTH (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) BUDAPEST RESIDENT, ERZSEBET TOTH, SAYING: "It means a lot for those who cannot go out. My family and I eat a lot of pizzas but now I am alone, my family cannot come so this is a big help and a good chance." STATUES ON FACADE EMPTY SQUARE MAIN SHOPPING STREET EMPTY EMPTY CHAIRS OUTSIDE CLOSED CAFE WOMEN WEARING MASK WALKING WITH MAN ON SQUARE BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (MARCH 22, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF AIRBNB FLAT OWNED BY VIKTORIA HOJER-SZABO VARIOUS OF REPORTER TALKING ON VIDEO CHAT TO HOJER-SZABO WHO IS IN SELF-ISOLATION INTERNET (MARCH 22, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) AIRBNB OWNER, VIKTORIA HOJER-SZABO, SAYING: "We think that social responsibility has never been as important as in these times. We think that those who can, should help those who are doing the actual work, through action, with money, with any kind words - within the four walls of our homes we have no idea about the hardships that the health workers are going through now." SIOFOK, HUNGARY (MARCH 20, 2020) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF SUNSHINE HOTEL CLEANER OF SUNSHINE HOTEL PUSHING TROLLEY WEARING MASK AND GLOVES CLEANER ENTERING ROOM VARIOUS OF CLEANER CLEARING PLATES AND CUTLERY IN HOTEL ROOM CLEANER WEARING MASK CLEANER CLEARING BALCONY TABLE MAN IN SELF-ISOLATION SITTING ON BALCONY MEN IN SELF-ISOLATION CHATTING OVER BALCONIES (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) MANAGER OF SUNSHINE HOTEL, GERGELY TOTH, SAYING: "I calculated that several hundred people will return here from work abroad, and I assumed that they worked abroad because they needed to do so, they needed foreign income. I also assumed that upon returning they would not have the means to self-isolate themselves from their family here and I did not want to risk that this contamination will escalate in my immediate environment and affect my own family." PEOPLE SITTING ON BENCH BY LAKESHORE NEAR HOTEL SWANS ON LAKE LAKE BALATON
- Keywords: Hungarian communities acts of kindness coronavirus in Hungary
- Reuters ID: LVA001C69WGFT
- Location: SIOFOK AND BUDAPEST, HUNGARY / INTERNET
- City: SIOFOK AND BUDAPEST, HUNGARY / INTERNET
- Country: Hungary
- Duration: 00:04:58
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Milan Varga saved for three years to be able to open his small pizzeria in Budapest, which opened its doors just a week ago on March 16. But by the following day his customers had all but disappeared as streets emptied amid the coronavirus outbreak.
With lots of ingredients stocked up, Varga quickly changed his plans and joined a growing number of Hungarians who have responded to the crisis with acts of kindness. He is now delivering half of his daily pizza output free of charge to elderly resident who are forced to self-isolate in their homes.
Other acts of kindness include free Airbnb stays for nurses and other healthcare workers who want to self-isolate to protect their families. Members of the Facebook group "Budapest Airbnb community for the health workers" now has more than 1,200 members who are offering up their spaces.
Viktoria Hojer-Szabo, who owns three Airbnb flats in Budapest and has nurse from Budapest's central hospital living in one of her flats now, said "social responsibility has never been as important as in these times."
So far 43 healthcare workers have moved into vacant Airbnb flats, according to the group.
Budapest had more than ten thousand Airbnb flats registered before the crisis hit, but the business has nosedived overnight as tourists disappeared.
On Lake Balaton, Hungary's main summer holiday destination, Gergely Toth, manager of the Sunshine hotel in the town of Siofok, offered hotel rooms to Hungarians who have returned from work abroad and have had to go into two-week quarantine.
Many people employed on Lake Balaton in the summer work abroad during the winter season. There are 39 people in the hotel currently, which also provides them with free meals.
(Production: Krisztina Fenyo, Balazs Kaufmann, Malgorzata Wojtunik)
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