Popular iceberg tracker halted amid COVID-19 concerns
Administrator Diane Davis plans to reopen page, but with new rules
Icebergs are as synonymous with Newfoundland and Labrador as puffins or the whale, and each summer, floods of people gather in nooks and crannies in the province to catch a glimpse at the icy monsters.
Concerns over large groups of people converging in one spot has led to the temporary shutdown of popular Facebook page Iceberg Reports.
"i just find [icebergs] remarkable," said Diane Davis, who started the group as a hobby.
"It's obviously an obsession."
The group, which has 19,000 members, has now been archived. Davis was fielding concerns from tourism operators and members who feared the page would encourage people to gather in their small communities during the pandemic.
"The majority of our shots are taken from people's kitchen windows or the bubble of their car," Davis said.
"There hasn't been a warning against it. Obviously we don't want people using airplanes or ferries or meeting in groups to see an iceberg."
Davis said it's still important for people to post their sightings to keep a record of how many we've had, and where they are.
She plans to reopen the page Wednesday to test a new rule: people will be asked not to post pictures taken within the previous five days — that way, iceberg hunters won't be as likely to head to a community to see an iceberg that is likely no longer there.
"I'm revamping our purpose for the year; it's to still record the icebergs, document the icebergs, but we're not worried about having the last five days," she told The St. John's Morning Show.
"We'll do icebergs five days previous to keep the data."
Davis said she will reassess keeping the page visible if people adhere to the rule.
With files from The St. John's Morning Show