Major retail outlets will be required to give customers face masks under Government plans to reopen the country.
Guidelines for the public on using face masks or coverings are still being drafted by health officials.
However, it has emerged plans for reopening the economy may involve large supermarket chains and department stores being told to provide their customers with face masks.
There are no plans to make face masks mandatory, but businesses may be asked to provide them to limit the spread of the virus, according to senior figures in the Department of Health.
"We are looking at asking large retailers to provide some form of disposable face masks for customers," a source said.
There are currently no standard Covid-19 hygiene regulations for retailers. However, some have been offering gloves and disinfectant to customers.
Separately, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is drafting national guidance for employers and employees to help the country get back to work.
The plan covers areas such as hand and respiratory hygiene, physical distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and the role of the worker.
The draft plan does not insist that retailers provide customers with face masks.
Workplaces will be asked to appoint a lead worker representative charged with ensuring that Covid-19 measures are strictly adhered to.
The new guidelines will be monitored by the Health and Safety Authority which will have the power to shut down businesses for failing to comply with the new standards.
On 'The Late Late Show' on Friday night, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the National Public Health Emergency Team was working on face mask guidelines.
He said they would not be made mandatory but recommendations may be made to wear them while shopping or on public transport.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said he needed to ensure face mask supplies for health workers were protected when making a decision on their use for the public.
Yesterday, Labour Party leader Alan Kelly called for "clear guidance" on what rules on masks would be required for the public when they go back to work and use public transport, and how supply would be regulated to protect healthcare workers.
"A large number of countries have introduced mandatory mask wearing in public," he said. "If such a policy is to be adopted here, we need honest answers for the public, including advice on how to make your own.
"The key issue here is that the need for the public to wear simple masks or face coverings doesn't impact on supply for front line health workers."
HSE chief operations officer Anne O'Connor said eight million pieces of PPE arrived in Ireland over the past week, of which 62pc had been sent to long-term residential care homes and home care. She said 600 deliveries were being made every day, of which 220 were to residential care, 113 to GPs and 37 to acute hospitals.