FAA investigating mystery drone telling New Yorkers to socially distance

FAA investigating mystery drone telling New Yorkers to socially distance
© Greg Nash

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating whether a drone filmed telling New Yorkers to socially distance over the weekend was violating aviation regulations, an official for the agency told The Hill on Monday.

CBS News posted a video of the drone in question flying over a Manhattan park on Sunday.

“This is the Anti-COVID-19 volunteer drone task force,” the drone blares over loudspeakers as people walk and bike by. "Please maintain a social distance of at least six feet. Again, please maintain social distancing."

The Hill was not able to determine whether such a "volunteer drone task force" exists, and it appears no party has come forward to claim responsibility.

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An official for the New York Police Department told The Hill that it was not behind the drone.

They also noted that it is illegal to fly drones in NYC except for in a few areas authorized by the FAA.

The FAA official said that the agency will investigate whether the unknown operator had registered the drone and has the certificate needed to fly it.

Drones have been deployed globally as part of an effort to control the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Beijing has used drones to warn people to wear masks while outside and Brussels used them to alert Belgians that the country was entering lockdown.

New York City has become one of the global hotspots for the disease, with nearly 65,000 cases recorded and 2,472 deaths as of Monday afternoon.