The Department of Public Safety has confirmed it is following up on a complaint about a large gathering of people and boats at Bay du Vin Island on the New Brunswick Day long weekend.
People who attended docked their boats together for a party spread over two days.
Photos and videos on social media showed crowds of more than 50 and a lack of physical distancing.
While the event in Miramichi Bay is not organized by any group, it is usually held at the same time as the Bay du Vin Summer Survival Festival put on by the Miramichi Recreation Council.
Council president Hilary Guimond said that in June, the council cancelled the annual festival because large gatherings were still not permitted under the COVID-19 recovery plan.
The province is still in the yellow phase of the plan, which limits outdoor gatherings in "uncontrolled venues" to 50 people and requires physical distancing.
The Bay du Vin party drew criticism on social media from people who called the participants selfish for gathering in such numbers during a pandemic.
Social media reaction
In a long Facebook post after the New Brunswick Day weekend, Kelly Mullen of Miramichi listed a lot of the things cancelled because of COVID-19, including school, graduations and proms. She also talked about lost jobs, including her own, and some small businesses that weren't able to reopen.
"BUT this weekend 1000's of ignorant, selfish people decided to not think about others, what we have all been through, and go out to an island for a good time."
While no cases of COVID have been reported as a result of the event, Mullen questioned what would have happened had there been a case.
"Now think about the second wave, yes, it'll probably going to happen and it's because of people who couldn't resist and few days of drinking on an island!"
Most people commenting on Mullen's post agreed with her, but some called her the "corona police" and said she should not try to dictate what others do.
"If YOU are scared, then by all means, isolate yourself and let the others move on and live their lives," wrote Bas ThinkBig Themens..
"You should have went and partied with the others, there is more chance of stepping on a broken corona glass bottle than catching a virus."
Large gatherings a concern
But the province's chief medical officer health has concerns some people aren't taking the warnings against large gatherings seriously,
"As you know, out west, in some of the western provinces, where they've seen a surge in numbers, they are as a result of large gatherings," Dr. Jennifer Russell told reporters this week.
Russell said it's important to still wear masks, wash your hands and follow physical distancing practices. And it's probably more important now, as the province moves into the phase of having schools reopen.
"We want to stay in that yellow phase," Russell said. "Again, I think there's many students, teachers and parents out there who want to keep their students in school and don't want to see any negative impacts of large gatherings that we've seen out west."
Russell said any breach in the guidance from public health on large gatherings could result in increased and longer outbreaks, and more cases of community transmission of the disease.
"We just don't want to see that," she said.
Most of New Brunswick's 190 cases so far have been related to travel, not community transmission,
2 events separate
Lynn Gregan, chair of the Black River-Hardwicke Local Service District, said the advisory board has no authority over things that happen on the water.
"I did confirm with the RCMP and DFO that if they had of been called with a complaint they would have went to check things out."
Guimond said most people know the party and the summer festival are separate, and none of the committee members have heard any complaints about the party.
"They know it's not the recreation council doing that event," he said, adding the council is more concerned with how it will pay the hydro, insurance and taxes after its main fundraising event wasn't held.
"We are hoping by 2021 everything is OK."
Public Safety spokesperson Geoffrey Downey said the complaint made about the Bay du Vin Island party was anonymous. He said anyone who has information about the gathering and is willing to provide a statement may do so by contacting email@example.com