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Debate raging over whether face masks should be required in public

Businesses across the Carolinas are reopening but there are growing concerns over people not wearing masks in public.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As businesses across the Carolinas begin to reopen, there are growing questions about wearing masks in public and if it should be mandatory.

Some grocery stores require employees to wear masks, but in many places we go, it's just recommended, and just Monday, North Carolina's top health official, Dr. Mandy Cohen, expressed her concern about people not wearing masks. Cohen, along with Governor Roy Cooper, considers it one of the three W's: wearing a mask, washing your hands and waiting six feet apart. 

So, should you be required to wear a mask, and if so, where should it be required? 

Video surveillance from a Los Angeles Target shows how the debate over face coverings can turn violent. A security guard was attacked by two people who refused to wear a mask. Along Charlotte's Rail Trail, people are expressing their opinions -- peacefully. 

"I like to wear one whenever I got into a place where I know I'm going to be close to a lot of people," said one person. 

Around here, if you're waiting to find someone with a mask it might be a while, but some say there's a good reason for that. 

"I think it's tricky to convince people to wear masks outside while exercising," said another person. 

Over the weekend, many people gathered at Romare Bearden Park in uptown. Few, if any, had masks, but they did keep a social distance for the most part. 

And malls across the Charlotte area reopened this weekend. Some shoppers had their faces covered while others did not. On Tuesday at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, most people had their faces covered, but not everyone.

"I wouldn't wear one in the mall, but probably the airport because the airport's got germs all over the place," said one person. 

RELATED: Charlotte leaders working on plan to encourage wearing face masks

RELATED: White House to require West Wing visitors and staff to wear masks

Some grocery chains in Charlotte require employees to wear masks. WCNC Charlotte tested it out and found most workers followed the rules but a few didn't. 

Dr. Cohen says people who are asymptomatic could be spreading the virus without even knowing it. 

"By covering your face when you go out, you're protecting your friends, you're being a good neighbor and a good community member," Dr. Cohen said. 

It's important to remember that wearing a mask doesn't replace keeping a social distance and washing your hands. Experts say you should be doing those things as well when you're in public.