The Chicago Journal

Pharmacies and Supermarkets Are Now Offering Free N95 Masks

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani

Almost a week after the Biden administration disclosed its roll out of 400 million free N95 masks to the citizens, the high-caliber face coverings are beginning to be available in pharmacies and supermarkets. 

The Department of Health and Human Services says, “Every person is allowed up to 3 free masks pending availability.” 

The White House disclosed its newest attempt to fight COVID-19 after the latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has revealed that cloth masks are futile in inhibiting the increased propagation of the highly infectious omicron variant of the coronavirus. The CDC further recommended people to wear an N95 or KN95 mask. 

The Strategic National Stockpile is the program that will provide the high-quality N95 masks. SNS has over 750 million of the face coverings ready for consummation. In the coming days, SNS is scaling up and should be up and running by early February. The program is also dispensing the free masks to community health centers all over the country. 

American supercenter chain Meijer, which manages over 250 pharmacies and supermarkets all around the Midwest, stated Monday that approximately 3 million masks had been received by their shops. 

“The N95 masks will be in boxes set on a table near the Meijer Greeter stand of the grocery entrance,” the supermarket chain said. “The Greeter, who will be wearing gloves, will place the N95 masks in piles of three for the customers to take.”

Pharmacies operated by Kroger will be giving out the masks all over the Midwest and Southwest as well. The first allocation of masks is likely to roll in on Thursday, said Kroger’s Director of Corporate Communications and Media Relations Kristal Howard. 

Moreover, Walgreens is taking part in the distribution program as well. On Tuesday, Scott Balgreen, Global Corporate Communications head at Walgreen, revealed the availability of free masks while supplies last. 

“We expect the first stores to begin offering masks on Friday, Jan. 28 and will continue on a rolling basis in the days and weeks following,” Goldberg said, indicating the number of masks made available per person, which is three pieces. “Participating stores will have signage indicating mask availability.”

Spokesperson Matt Blanchette said that CVS Pharmacy is similarly providing free N95 masks in all their locations in the coming weeks.