Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged everyone to wear facemasks in shops and hinted the Government could make it compulsory.
He said: "I do think that in shops it is very important to wear a face covering."
And Mr Johnson said the Government would make an announcement "in the next few days" about the "tools of enforcement" that could be introduced.
He spoke as the Government came in for criticism over its policy on face masks, with opposition MPs accusing it of failing to send a clear message to the public.
It's compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport, but not currently in shops.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Johnson said: "What we've said for a while now is that we do think that masks have a great deal of value. Obviously they are mandatory on public transport, on the Tube, but they have a great deal of value in confined spaces where you are coming into contact with people you don't normally meet.
"What's been interesting on the face coverings issue in the last few months is that the scientific evaluation of face coverings, and their importance in stopping aerosol droplets, that's been growing.
"And so I do think that in shops it is very important to wear a face covering, if you are going to be in a confined space and you want to protect other people and to receive protection in turn, yes, face coverings I think people should be wearing in shops.
"And in terms of how we do that, whether we make it mandatory or not, we'll be looking the guidance, we'll be saying a little bit more in the next few days."
Wearing a mask was a way of protecting yourself and the people around you, he said.
"We will be looking in the next few days about exactly how, with what tools of enforcement, we think we want to make progress."
He said: "As the virus comes down in incdience, and we have more and more success, face coverings are a kind of extra insurance that we can all use to stop it coming back and stop it getting out of control again."
Mr Johnson added: "We will be saying a little bit more in the next few days. But to be absolutely clear, I do think that face coverings have a real value in confined spaces and I think the public do unserstand that."
It follows claims that the Government's policy is confused.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said on Sunday it was “best to trust people’s common sense” rather than force them to adopt face coverings.
Labour has demanded “clarity” on the Government’s position and has requested that Health Secretary Matt Hancock come to the Commons on Monday to provide Parliament with a “clear message”.
Shadow health minister Justin Madders told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “We need Matt Hancock to come to the House and say this is what the science says, this is what we believe you should be doing and then let’s move on.
“Have a clear message and we all know where we stand.”