The Cabinet is set to approve the drafting of new legislation to enforce mandatory mask wearing in some settings during a health crisis.
All the emergency powers and legislation underpinning the response to the Covid crisis were allowed to lapse earlier this year as the threat from infection subsided.
With Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions on the rise again, sources told The Irish Times that the intention is to draft laws now that could be passed quickly by the Oireachtas if necessary.
No specific settings have been identified for mandatory mask wearing.
A Government source told The Irish Examiner that the new legislation was necessary because if cases were to spike in the winter there would be no existing laws in place for mandatory face coverings.
There are currently 751 hospital patients with Covid-19 in the State, up from 477 two weeks ago.