Retail Excellence Ireland has urged its members to shut all textiles, clothing and homeware departments to prioritise food.
The statement by the retail representative body comes ahead of an expected increase in government restrictions on movement and social activity.
Health Minister Simon Harris has confirmed the announcement of further measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus will come this afternoon.
In a statement, Retail Excellence Ireland urged its members to "use common sense" and to prioritise the essentials.
"Grocery retailers with multiple departments should shut all textiles, clothing and homeware departments and prioritise food. Other essential retailers might curtail certain categories such as a supermarket closing ice-cream counters," they said.
"Non-essential retailers such as consumer electronics will continue online but might have a phone number available to provide an emergency order and kerbside delivery service of an essential item, such as a cooker or fridge to an elderly member of society."
They urged retailers to follow government advice.
"It is now likely that we will now enter a phase where the Irish Government, based on medical advice and economic issues pertaining to the border counties, will decree that all non-essential retail and commerce must close on a temporary basis," a spokesperson said.
"All online activity will continue to operate as normal. Please be patient when shopping online. There has been a significant increase in online shopping demand and thus fulfilment and delivery is taking longer than normal."
Many large retailers have already taken the steps to close their doors. Debenhams announced their intention to shut stores yesterday, following the likes of Brown Thomas, Penneys and Arnotts, which closed last week,
Fast food outlets like McDonald's, Subway and Nandos have all closed too, as have the likes of Costa Coffee and many other high street brands.
Dixons Carphone Ireland this morning announced it, too, will close some 16 Currys PC World and 82 Carphone Warehouse shops in Ireland.
The move will affect 1,100 staff, according to Seamus McCormack, interim managing director Dixons Carphone Ireland.