WINNIPEG -- Amid the spread of COVID-19, Manitoba RCMP officers are asking the public to only come to detachments for urgent matters.

Mounties have 80 detachments across the province, which serve as a point of contact between police and residents.

“It is important to us that we remain accessible to Manitobans for when you need us most,” police said in a news release.

“For precautionary reasons due to COVID-19, effectively immediately, we are asking that the public only visit a detachment if it's urgent.”

Anyone with a non-urgent matter, a general question or who wants to speak to an officer is asked to call their local detachments

Police said the service of getting fingerprints done for background checks has been postponed until further notice.

Officers urge anyone in an emergency to call 911 or their local emergency number.

Winnipeg Police reveal pandemic plan

Winnipeg police officers have made changes to their operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While police stations remain open for now, the service is asking anyone who is feeling unwell to avoid visiting a station, according to a release published Tuesday morning. If you do need to attend, you will be required to use hand sanitizer stations before any contact with officers.

Police are reminding residents that they should not call 911 unless it is an emergency to help keep the phone lines open, and they should only call police if they need direct emergency assistance.

Police say in the past weekend, the communications centre has received calls on where to be tested for COVID-19, how to reach Health Links, how to protect one’s self from contracting the virus, and even calls from people in foreign countries who are being prevented from leaving those countries.

If a call is not an emergency, residents should call 204-986-6222. Police will also be asking callers questions about their health, and if they’re self-isolating.

Police add they will not be processing criminal record checks in person, but have a portal online people can use to start the process. 

Police add some crimes, including fraud, lost property, vehicle and property damage, along with certain thefts and break and enters, can be reported online. A link can be found online.

-With files from Charles Lefebvre