Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae, who runs a shop in his hometown, says he will not enforce the mandatory face covering rule.
Face coverings are compulsory in shops and other indoor places like hairdressers, cinemas and museums.
Those who do not comply could face a €2,500 fine and/or a potential prison sentence.
But Deputy Healy-Rae, who runs a Mace supermarket and filling station in Kilgarven, told The Pat Kenny Show he does not want to seem 'heavy handed'.
"I just want to put the context to the question that I was asked by the journalist from the Independent, who were doing a podcast.
"They asked me the question would I be enforcing and would I be asking my customers to wear face masks: and to be honest the answer I gave was 'no'.
"In other words I or anybody working for me, we're not going to be at the door saying to a person coming in 'Well, you're not allowed in here if you don't wear a face mask'.
"Of course we have the signs up reminding people that it is mandatory and at the work station where the sanitiser and all of that equipment is on the way into the shop.
"We are highly recommending to people that they do obey, but we're not enforcers of the law.
"We want people to adhere to the proper and safe practice, I believe it is right, no more than in the Dáil, I believe it is right that we're asked to wear masks and I comply with it myself personally - but I also want everybody else to do so.
"But when asked by the Independent was I going to be enforcing it, the clear answer I gave was 'no, I was not'".
"And I find it hard to believe that every other shop keeper - I don't believe it's our job, we should of course remind people [and] have the signs up.
"But not to be saying 'You're not allowed in here if you don't have the mask on'".
He said for those who do not have a mask on, he could give them "a little gentle reminder".
"But what I would have a problem with and what I obviously wouldn't like is what I would call a repeat offender."
"But I really don't believe that it's the place of a shop-keeper to be trying to man the door... because I think they'll want to do it anyway themselves."
Asked if there is an extra onus on him as a TD representing the area, he said: "My job, as well as being an elected representative, I'm keeping a lot of people in employment.
"I want to make my shop attractive for people to come in and call in to do their bit of shopping when they're passing the road.
"I certainly don't want to be a person with a heavy hand".