Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from Friday, July 24.
Face coverings are currently mandatory on public transport in the North of Ireland.
Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle, Dr Tom Black, the NI chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA), said the “science leads this for the Department of Health”.
“There is less speed on this than we would’ve expected, but it’s going in the right direction,” said Dr Black.
“I would be fairly confident that most of us will be wearing face coverings inside where we have difficulty maintaining social distancing.
“And that will happen gradually in the coming weeks”.
A spokesperson for the Executive Office said the use of face coverings is mandatory on public transport here, unless they are exempt on medical grounds.
And face coverings are also strongly recommended in indoor environments where social distancing may be difficult, added the spokesperson.