On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom of California issued an Executive Order (N-33-20) issuing a stay-at-home decree and the shuttering of all non-essential businesses in California. There are many questions from flight schools within California and elsewhere about the California Executive Order and how it affects whether a flight school can remain open.
The Executive Order States:
“The federal government has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination thereof. I order that Californians working in these 16 critical infrastructure sectors may continue their work because of the importance of these sectors to Californians’ health and well-being.”
The Executive Order includes a link to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) which identifies the 16 critical infrastructure sectors and detailed information of which businesses are included in these sectors. You will find that the Aviation sub-sector of the Transportation Systems Sector details the following:
“… the aviation mode includes commercial and recreational aircraft (manned and unmanned) and a wide variety of support services, such as repair stations, fueling facilities, navigation aids, and flight schools.”
If your flight school is a college or university program or works with a college or university, the definitions are less clear.
According to California Executive Order N-33-20, flight schools in California may remain open.
Why is this important to flight schools outside of California?
The California Executive Order is important to all flight schools because it specifically ties the list of businesses that may remain open to a federal agency, CISA. It is FSANA’s opinion that flight schools outside of California may also choose to remain open because of this very important designation. FSANA believes the CISA definition of critical infrastructure businesses should preempt any state or local declarations that are to the contrary.
If you decide to keep your flight school operational, FSANA strongly recommends following all CDC, WHO, and medical advisories regarding employee hygiene, aircraft and facility sanitization, social distancing, and any other precautionary measures that you deem necessary to keep your employees and students safe and healthy. FSANA is developing a set of recommended COVID-19 Precautions and Best Practices which we will provide in the coming days.