WINNIPEG -- The City of Winnipeg is taking extra steps to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as it is taking steps to suspend non-essential in-home services and reduce other non-essential services.

On Wednesday morning, Jay Shaw, the manager of the city's Emergency Operations Centre, said the situation of COVID-19 is changing quickly, and the suspension of services accomplishes two goals.

"This does two things. It helps with the messaging for social distancing and it also helps protect our central services as the municipality of the city of Winnipeg, and the government of the city of Winnipeg basically needs to keep running," Shaw said.

The city said Animal Services will only be responding to emergency and stray calls, with all other services will be suspended immediately. If anyone has any emergencies or they spot stray animals, they can reach Animal Services by contacting 311.

Starting on Thursday, all interior residential and commercial property inspections will be suspended by the Assessment and Taxation Department and Bylaw Enforcement Services. The city said most of the cases can be handled in other ways, like photos and phones.

On Wednesday, the City of Winnipeg Archives will be closed to the public but people can still access the archives online

Weddings that will be held in City Hall will also be suspended starting March 21, until further notice. Winnipeggers can still get wedding licenses from the City Clerk’s department.

Water meter inspections, removals, replacements, and on-site meter readings will be suspended starting on Thursday.

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service station tours and in-classroom presentations have been cancelled. Winnipeggers also can’t obtain open fire or fireworks permits at WFPS Headquarters. People can still get these licenses by calling 204-986-8200.

The WFPS will also not be collecting book donations anymore as the Children’s Hospital Book Market has been cancelled.

Winnipeg Transit is also suspending in-office and community assessments for people who need those services or for those who wish to re-register for TransitPlus.

Shaw said employees who are not feeling well should stay home. He called on businesses to relax their protocol for doctor's notes, saying he doesn't want doctor's offices and clinics to be clogged up with people wanting notes.

For updates on the COVID-19 situation, people can visit the city’s website