Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from 24 July.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, the government is to announce.
The move will bring England into line with Scotland and other major European nations like Spain, Italy and Germany.
Since mid-May, the public have been advised to wear coverings in enclosed public spaces, where they may encounter people they would not usually meet.
It has been compulsory on public transport in England since 15 June.Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.
Environment Secretary George Eustice told BBC Breakfast the new mandatory rule for face coverings in shops does not apply to retail staff.
“It is about managing the overall risk,” he added. “Any type of covering will be sufficient for this purpose.” It follows a reported increase in the use of face coverings by people in England, Scotland and Wales.
More than half of adults surveyed by the Office for National Statistics in the first week of July said they used a covering while outside their home.
Meanwhile, a report requested by the government’s chief scientific adviser suggests the UK could see around 120,000 new coronavirus deaths in hospitals during a “reasonable” worst-case scenario this winter.