Shoppers are legally required to wear face coverings from today (Monday),
The legislation applies to certain indoor settings, including shops.
And there has been a warning that those who do not comply without reasonable excuse risk being issued with a fixed penalty notice by police.
In a joint statement, the Executive said: “The use of face coverings is a vital defence in our battle against Covid-19. That’s why we have taken the step to make this mandatory in certain settings from today.
“This is about looking after each other and doing everything we can to stay on top of this virus. It will help to save lives.
“As the slogan of our public information campaign puts it – ‘Wear one for everyone’.
“Our citizens have made great sacrifices during this pandemic, staying at home to stop Covid-19 spreading.
“Now that the lockdown has been eased, we must keep following public health advice, whether that be wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing or washing our hands.
“We need to maintain the collective spirit that got us through the first surge of the virus.
“We want face coverings in shops and other enclosed settings to increasingly become the norm in our society. But it also has to be remembered that some people cannot wear face coverings, due to a disability or health condition.
“There should be no stigma attached to anyone in these circumstances. If those of us who can cover up do so, then it will help keep everyone safe.
“It is expected that businesses will encourage and promote compliance – to help protect customers and staff. We are grateful to retailers for their constructive work on promoting the benefits of face coverings
“We are confident most people will comply, but those who do not wear a face covering without a reasonable excuse risk being issued with a fixed penalty notice by the police.”
The legislation does not apply to children under 13, or those who cannot wear a mask because of health or disability reasons. Further information is available at www.nidirect.gov.uk/face-coverings.