Use of face coverings by members of the public will in no way reduce the need for social distancing or regular handwashing.
That is the message from Health Minister Robin Swann following a meeting of the Executive on Friday.
Minister Swann and Executive colleagues discussed the role face coverings could play in helping to keep people safe.
He said: “It is agreed that we recommend that members of the public consider the use of face coverings for short periods in enclosed spaces, where social distancing is not possible.
“While evidence on the overall protection provided by face coverings is not conclusive, on balance it is sufficient to recommend that members of the public consider using them in particular circumstances.
“In practice, these circumstances will largely relate to public transport and retail environments.
“Their use will not be mandatory. Crucially, face coverings must not lead to any false sense of security about the level of protection provided.
“It is essential that everyone continues to practice social distancing as much as humanly possible, wash their hands thoroughly throughout the day and ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’ when they sneeze or cough.
“That’s still the best way to protect yourself and others from Covid-19.”