Pharmacies have warned people with coronavirus not to visit because access will be restricted.
Community Pharmacy NI chief executive Gerard Greene said there had been an unprecedented surge of customers in recent days.
"Tens of thousands more people have flocked to pharmacies on a daily basis as the Covid-19 crisis has deepened," he added.
"We would like to remind the public that community pharmacists are frontline health workers who must be protected from getting sick so they can continue to deliver a service to those who need it. As a result, we will be changing how we work in community pharmacies and would ask for public support to manage this.
"There will be significantly reduced access to pharmacies. Access will be restricted to keep low numbers inside pharmacies. New counters are also being put in place to help manage social distancing requirements. Please be patient with these changes and work with us.
"In addition, patients should be flexible and allow pharmacies up to 48 hours to get repeat medicines ready for collection once forms are handed into the pharmacy. Again, please be patient with these changes."
Mr Greene asked for calm from the public and said pharmacists were focused on helping the sick.
"Please be mindful that we need pharmacy teams to remain well so the service remains in place," he said.
"Pharmacists will ensure everyone gets their medicines and that supplies are managed safely.
"Our absolute priority is the health of our patients and our staff.
"Be patient with us and other healthcare workers as we continue to deliver this service in extremely challenging times."