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Free N95 masks are arriving at pharmacies and grocery stores. Here’s how to get yours

WHYY – “Nearly a week after the Biden administration announced it will deploy 400 million free N95 masks to the public, the high-quality face coverings are starting to arrive at pharmacies and local grocery stores. “Every person is allowed up to 3 free masks pending availability,” the Department of Health and Human Services says. The White House launched it’s latest effort to combat COVID-19 following new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC now says cloth masks are no longer as effective in preventing the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant and that people should wear a N95 or KN95 mask. The coveted non-surgical N95 masks are coming from the Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of them on hand. The program should be up and fully operational by early February. Where can I get mine? On Monday, Meijer, which operates more than 250 grocers and pharmacies throughout the Midwest, said the stores had received an estimated 3 million masks. “The N95 masks will be in boxes set on a table near the Meijer Greeter stand of the grocery entrance,” the company said. “The Greeter, who will be wearing gloves, will place the N95 masks in piles of three for the customers to take.” Kroger’s stores with pharmacies will also be doling out the masks throughout the chain’s Midwest and southwest locations. Spokeswoman Kristal Howard said the first allotment of masks is expected to arrive on Thursday. Walgreens is also participating in the distribution program, and on Tuesday, spokesman Scott Goldberg told NPR the masks will be made available for free while supplies last. “We expect the first stores to begin offering masks on Friday, January 28 and will continue on a rolling basis in the days and weeks following,” Goldberg said, explaining that customers are limited to three masks per person. “Participating stores will have signage indicating mask availability.” Similarly, CVS Pharmacy locations will also be offering free N95 masks in the coming weeks, spokesman Matt Blanchette told NPR…” [h/t Pete Weiss]

  • A full list of participating retailers is available here.

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