Filing your flight plan during the COVID-19 pandemic may require extra steps
Rules are changing daily with the COVID-19 pandemic and pilots need to be especially aware of the latest changes before filing a flight plan. Every country, state, county, and city might have different regulations and procedures and the updates are coming so fast, it’s hard to keep up with them all.
As different hotspots spring up throughout the country (and the world), cities and states want to keep their communities safe. They are constantly imposing new restrictions on travel as the data rolls in, often changing from day to day. Unfortunately, we are still seeing COVID-19 cases increasing exponentially though authorities are trying their best to contain the spread.
The FAA has just released a new advisory for pilots in the form of a COVID-19 Special Notice. The notice warns pilots that numerous state and local governments have implemented quarantine and shelter in place orders that affect airports within their borders. These orders may have different consequences for passengers flying from different parts of the country (or world), specifically affecting arriving passengers as they deplane.
Pilots and operators must familiarize themselves with the specific orders that may be in effect for their arrival airports PRIOR to their departure. The worst case scenario would be the local government refusing to allow your passengers to deplane because they consider your initial departure point too dangerous as they attempt to keep their community exposure at a minimum.
You may consider making a phone call to the local FBO at your arrival airport before you file your flight plan. A little extra work on your part before departure might save you significant embarrassment when the boss is stopped as he/she tries to deplane and get into the waiting limo!