The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said people should not become complacent if they are wearing a face mask.
He also said that 'only a minority of people' are currently following this advice.
He told Newstalk Breakfast: "One of things we do have concern about is that if people feel if they wear a mask, it's a little bit like a hurling helmet: are you going to put yourself in more danger when you have a helmet on because you feel a little bit more invincible.
"It's really important people don't feel that: you wear the mask as an added measure to all of the other things we think are important."
He said a face covering should be worn "in situations in indoor, enclosed spaces where we think physical distancing might be more of a challenge.
"In other words on public transport and in particular in retail settings - but any indoor setting where you might be likely to run into other people.
"We've been clear and consistent in that advice, it hasn't changed, we've given that advice since early May.
"But we think now is the right time for us to step up our communication in relation to that.
"We can see... that as we use public transport, as we visit shops that maybe it's only a minority of people who are following this advice.
"It's not the only piece of advice though, and it's really important that I get the message across, that this is an added hygiene measure.
"It doesn't replace the need for any other measure we've recommended".
"But understandably, this is a measure that people will be reluctant about.
"It is a significant imposition, if you like, to wear a face mask and to wear it in public settings - for a lot of people they don't like doing it.
"I don't particularly like doing it myself, if I'm very honest with you".
But he also praised the public for following other guidelines: "We wouldn't have achieved what we've managed to achieve in this country without high levels of compliance on the part of the public.
"We've managed to avert what has been seen in many other countries, in well-developed healthcare systems, in major cities with very significant admissions to hospital, well beyond the capacity of those hospitals with much more significant mortality than we've experienced in this country".
He said anyone who can work from home should continue to do so.
"People shouldn't drift back to work on the basis that they're now coming back to the office because the risk of this has receded.
"They need to work from home where possible - but we know that some work places that that isn't possible, and that other measures have to be taken to try and provide protection for people in work place settings".
He said elements such as hand washing and physical barriers are important.
On the two metre social distancing guidelines, he said they are looking at guidance during periods of low transmission across the hospitality sector.
"We recognise during periods of low transmission, that it will be appropriate for us to do that, and the focus that we have is not only on the one and two metre - but how all of the different pieces of public health advice.... we have to take all of those things into account".
But he said any second wave of the virus will be treated differently.
"The way in which we did it back in March may not be the same as the way we we would do it if we were to have a further resurgence of the disease.
"We know a good deal more about this disease, the advice we have available to us internationally is much, much greater, the research and evidence is much greater than it was in February and March".