Hungarian Cafe Mulls Civil Disobedience to Avoid Bankruptcy

The owners of a family-run cafe in Hungary's capital had planned to engage in a bold act of civil disobedience on Monday, but reconsidered after the government there issued a decree that would place the already struggling business into bankruptcy, the Associated Press reported. Before the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, the Kucko Coffeehouse in Budapest served fine coffees from its designer Italian espresso machine and a cozy atmosphere offering pastries, sandwiches, ice cream, and breakfasts to mostly local residents. Like many small businesses, it struggled to stay afloat as Hungary's pandemic restrictions limited bars and restaurants to takeout, and was forced to dismiss all but one of its six employees. But as bankruptcy threatened, the owners, married couple Olga Miskolci and Attila Blaho, decided not to take it sitting down: On Monday, the couple planned to join as many as 200 other businesses across Hungary in opening their doors to dine-in guests in defiance of pandemic rules. But a government decree issued on Saturday stiffened penalties for restaurants breaking the restrictions, which Blaho said represented “a clear threat” on the part of the government, which his business couldn't afford to confront. Police may now require businesses breaking pandemic rules to close their doors for six months to a year and can issue hefty fines of between $4,000 and $17,000, penalties that dissuaded other businesses as well from following through on their plans to reopen. Read more.