South Florida has begun taking part in the Biden administration's initiative to make 400 million N95 masks available for free to Americans.
The masks are coming from the Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of the highly protective N95 masks on hand.
Health experts suggest stepping up protection against the highly contagious omicron variant with stronger masks such as N95s or KN95s.
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So if you don't have N95 masks at home, consider taking advantage of the free distributions taking place at any of the following pharmacies and health centers:
Mask distribution began at select Walgreens locations on Friday, Jan. 28.
The company said in a statement that distribution will continue in the following days and weeks on a rolling basis.
Walgreens confirmed which stores will offer free masks, including 37 locations in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. The full list can be found here.
Customers can pick up a maximum of three N95 masks per person, which will be offered in varying sizes.
Distribution of free N95 masks began in some participating CVS Pharmacy stores and in locations inside Target and Schnucks on Thursday, Jan. 27.
Masks are limited to three per person while supplies last.
CVS has yet to confirm which locations in South Florida are offering free N95 masks, but signs should be posted to indicate mask availability.
If you're unsure whether your local CVS is participating, consider visiting to check the store's signage or even just calling to find out.
Southeastern Grocers (Winn-Dixie, Harvey's and Fresco Y Mas)
According to Director of Public Relations & Community Meredith Hurley, Southeastern Grocers is continuing to work closely with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to distribute N95 masks.
The free masks will be offered in the pharmacy locations of Winn-Dixie, Harvey's and Fresco Y Mas as they arrive.
While store delivery days and times will vary, Hurley says "all of our in-store pharmacy locations are projected to have the N95 masks available by Monday, Jan. 31, while supplies last."
Southeastern Grocers plans to distribute more than 2 million N95 masks total.
"We ask for patience and understanding from our customers as we work to help protect our communities," said Hurley in a statement.
Walmart, Inc. (including Walmart and Sam’s Club)
According to a statement from Walmart, free masks should become available in the second week of February at select Walmart and Sam's Club stores.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have worked to meet the needs of our communities and help keep them safe and healthy by setting-up COVID testing sites, administering tens of millions of vaccines and boosters, and dispensing authorized COVID-19 oral antiviral medications,” the statement read, in part. “We are proud to continue to serve our customers, members and associates now through N95 mask distribution as part of the US Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.”
Walmart will also be limiting customers to three masks per person masks while supplies last.
Publix is also set to be participating in the federal government program to distribute N95 masks.
However, the supermarket giant is still awaiting further information on delivery schedules to determine when the masks will be available for distribution.
Other Participating Distribution Sites in South Florida
- The Jessie Trice Community Health Center, 5607 NW 27th Ave, Miami
- Health Care District of Palm Beach County, 1515 N Flagler Dr Suite 101, West Palm Beach
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