Suffolk County Police Department patrol cars are pictured outside the...

Suffolk County Police Department patrol cars are pictured outside the department's 3rd Precinct in Bay Shore Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Credit: Barry Sloan

Nassau and Suffolk police Wednesday announced new limits on in-person services, aiming to reduce exposure to coronavirus as cases surge in the region.

Police announced several operational changes, including curtailing public access to precincts except in emergencies, the departments said.

"Precincts will remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but the department is encouraging people to not visit precincts unless critically necessary," Suffolk police said in a statement.

There will be "limited public access" in the lobby of the department’s headquarters at 30 Yaphank Ave. in Yaphank, authorities said.

In a statement, Suffolk Chief of Department Stuart Cameron said: "Due to an increase in the COVID infection rate in communities across Suffolk County, the department is re-implementing protective measures that are designed to protect both the public and our employees. The department strives to maintain services utilizing alternatives to in person contact during this period and will resume normal operations when it is deemed safe to do so."

Nassau County police announced similar changes Wednesday afternoon, including a limit of one person per section at its Mineola headquarters at 1490 Franklin Ave.

Nassau precincts will also remain open around the clock but access will be limited to, "one person at a time in the building" unless there are "exigent circumstances," police said in an email.

Areas in precincts where reports are taken are mandating social distancing of more than six feet, Nassau police said. Reports about accidents and records can still be picked up in person at the department’s headquarters, but only one person at a time, police said.

Accident and records can also be filed online — at www.police.co.nassau.ny.us — police said.

The pistol section is still open at department headquarters via appointments, but access will be limited, police said.

Suffolk police, however, said that beginning Monday no forms will be available through precincts. Those seeking to file crime reports can do so online or by phone and fingerprinting services will be suspended.

Police said reports on crimes such as harassment, lost property, criminal mischief, property damage, minor vehicle crashes, identity theft and some larcenies can be filed online or by telephone in both English and Spanish.

Those reports can be made at www.suffolkpd.org or 631-852-COPS, police said.

Suffolk police said an officer will be dispatched if reports can’t be filed online or by phone.

Some records and documents, such as vehicle crash reports, incident reports and background checks, can also be requested through the department’s website.

Those without access to a computer can request certain records at 631-852-6015. A staff member will take a request for records, which can be sent via U.S. mail along with a bill for applicable fees.

Reports and records can’t be obtained "at precincts or other police facilities," Suffolk police said.

Officials added that pistol license applications can also be made at the department’s website. Applications can also be made over the mail or by contacting the Pistol License at 631-852-6575. Pistol license renewals cannot be made online.

Clarification: Pistol license renewals cannot be made online in the Suffolk County Police Department. An earlier version of this story misstated this information.

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