An N95 mask, which can be used to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by Michael Swan/Flickr)

As COVID-19 infections increase in Contra Costa County, health officials on Tuesday reiterated the rules for wearing face masks in public places, emphasizing that face coverings must be worn in all businesses and in areas where people wait in line to enter businesses.

The rules, as freshly spelled out Monday on the Contra Costa Health Services website, require wearing a face covering (face shield, mask or bandanna) within 6 feet of another person who is not a member of that person’s household, except in “very limited, industry-specific situations” as outlined by the state Department of Public Health.

People who have certain health conditions are exempt from wearing masks that fit snugly over the mouth and nose. However, the order states, they must instead wear plastic face shields with cloth draping beneath to contain coughs and sneezes.

Contra Costa County is on the state Department of Public Health’s monitoring list because of increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients in local hospitals. On Tuesday, Contra Costa reported 209 new confirmed cases.

The order also requires businesses open during the pandemic to ensure their workers, contractors and volunteers wear face coverings, and to not serve or allow entry to anyone not wearing one.

“We recognize there is a lot of detailed health guidance coming from state and local sources, and that can be confusing,” Contra Costa County Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville, the board’s chairwoman, said in a statement. “With COVID-19 spreading more in our community, it is more important than ever to follow the state health guidance and wear a face covering whenever you go out.”

The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the California Department of Public Health all recommend wearing face coverings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.