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Where do you have to wear a mask?

Many leaders are saying they encourage wearing a mask, but is doing so required anywhere?

AUSTIN, Texas — We know there's been some confusion about whether you should wear a mask – and where – so we're breaking down the rules.

The State of Texas recommends wearing a face covering, but doing so isn't mandatory.

The "stay home" order in Austin-Travis County says all people over the age of six should wear a face covering – but there's no penalty if you don't.

And the CDC also recommends wearing a mask but, again, there is no federal mandate to do so. 

So, the bottom line: there are no consequences in place if you don't wear a mask, but local, State and federal authorities all recommend using one.


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Additionally, individual businesses are allowed to make up their own rules. So, a business may require customers or workers to wear face coverings if they want, just as they could enforce a "no shoes, no shirt, no service" policy.

The same goes for travel companies. In fact, Amtrak and several major airlines like Southwest, American, Delta and United are requiring their passengers to wear masks.

West Wing staffers at the White House also have to wear masks now after two people who work there tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Leaders are making the recommendations to wear masks because researchers estimate if enough people wear them, the number of infections would dramatically decrease. According to a study from researchers in the United Kingdom, if people don't wear masks once restrictions are lifted, almost half of the population could become infected with the coronavirus. 

But they believe if 80 to 90% of the population wear masks, that could help avoid a second wave of cases and eventually eliminate the disease.

WATCH: Austin mayor says will need to assess COVID-19 data as businesses reopen