Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets is to be made mandatory in England.
Anyone failing to comply with the order – which comes into force on July 24 – could face a fine.
However, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.
The announcement is to be made by Health Secretary Matt Hancock today.
As yet it is unclear whether this will apply to estate agents’ branches; most of those offices that are currently open are inviting customers in under social distancing rules, and an agency office is regarded by many as a retail environment.
While shop workers - and presumably agency staff - will be encouraged to prompt customers to comply, they will not be expected to enforce the rules.
Under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, anyone defying the rule will face a maximum fine of £100 – reduced to £50 if it is paid within 14 days.
The government leaked the news late last evening; Estate Agent Today put a request in to Propertymark overnight seeking its comment and any clarification on whether the ruling would apply to agency offices.
Face coverings have been compulsory in shops in Germany since April and in Italy and Spain since May; in these countries, the rules include estate agency offices and residential development showhomes.
In Scotland the wearing of face coverings in shop has been mandatory since last weekend; people in Wales and Northern Ireland are not currently required to wear them although both nations have said this will be kept under review.