British Columbia·Video

B.C. wants to see evidence it's safe to fly if airlines drop in-flight distancing

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says he would like to see the evidence that led to a decision from airlines to drop physical distancing measures in airplanes.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says masks aren't an alternative to physical distancing, just an added measure

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix called on WestJet, Air Canada and his federal counterparts to show evidence that it's safe to drop physical distancing measures on airplanes. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix says he wants to see evidence that it's safe for the country's two largest airlines to drop their in-flight distancing policies during the pandemic.

Dix says he would like to hear from federal agencies to allay fears or explain why they've allowed Air Canada and WestJet to end the seat-distancing policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The airlines announced Friday that they would use health recommendations from the United Nation's aviation agency and the International Air Transport Association.

Dix, who also wants to discuss the policy change with his provincial counterparts, says there can't just be a business argument for the change.

WATCH: Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry say they're seeking clarification from Ottawa about its position on the airlines' decision to end seat-distancing policies:

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry say they're looking to the federal government to provide details on how this is safe for travellers. 2:18

"My expectation would be to hear from all of them as to how this decision was determined at the federal level and what the evidence is that says that in this case, a reduction of physical distancing is ... acceptable," said Dix.

"Yes it can be a value to wear a mask, but that's only when there are no alternatives to physical distance," he said.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the airline in-flight distancing policy does not fall under her jurisdiction,
but she assumes there is evidence to support the move.

Transport Canada says in a statement it issued guidance to the aviation industry, including recommendations for passenger spacing aboard planes, but it is not mandatory.

With files from CBC

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