How to get free government masks at CVS, Costco, Kroger

  • CVS said free N95 masks are expected to arrive in its stores as early as Thursday, including CVS pharmacies inside Target stores.
  • Walgreens said it will have N95 masks available at participating locations beginning Friday, Jan. 28.
  • Walmart plans to begin distributing free N95 masks by the second week of February at stores and Sam’s Club locations.

As the government sends free COVID tests to households across the country, 400 million free masks are also on the way.

Unlike free test kits that are ordered through a government website or hotline and shipped through the United States Postal Service, free N95 masks will be pickable at “tens of thousands” of pharmacies and community health centers. who have partnered with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

While the White House has said the masks will be available for distribution starting this week, specific dates for all stores and locations are not yet available.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said Friday it was the “largest deployment of personal protective equipment in US history.”

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“We have already shipped millions of these masks. And in the coming days, masks will begin to be available at local pharmacies and community health centers across the country,” Zients said.

Distribution of masks has already started at Meijer and Hy-Vee stores and is expected at Walgreens later in the week.

The masks will come from the country’s strategic national stockpile, which has tripled its supply of N95 masks to 750 million in the year since Biden took office. The White House has faced increasing pressure to make more protective masks available to the public rather than less protective cloth versions.

The free masks are in addition to the 30 million masks the Biden administration distributed to food banks and community health centers last year and the 23.5 million masks and respirators sent to states. On his first day in office, Biden took action to require masks to be worn in federal buildings, planes and trains, and he called on Americans to continue wearing masks in all indoor public places.

How many free masks can I get?

Individuals will be limited to three masks per person to ensure broad access to the program, according to Kevin Munoz, deputy White House press secretary.

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Which pharmacies will offer free N95 masks with the government program?

Retail pharmacies participating in the federal retail pharmacy program vary by state and territory, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, which also lists a state-by-state breakdown. Here is the complete national list.

  • Albertsons Companies, Inc. (including Osco, Jewel-Osco, Albertsons, Albertsons Market, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Star Market, Shaw’s, Haggen, Acme, Randalls, Carrs, Market Street, United, Vons, Pavilions, Amigos, Lucky’s, Pak n Save, save on)
  • Costco Wholesale Corp.
  • CVS Pharmacy, Inc. (including Long’s)
  • GeriMed (long-term care and retail pharmacies)
  • Good Neighbor Pharmacy and the Pharmacy Services Administrative Organization (PSAO) of AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, Elevate Provider Network
  • Pharmacies Health Mart
  • HEB, PL
  • Hy-Vee, Inc.
  • Innovatix (long-term care pharmacies)
  • Kroger Co. (including Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Ralphs, King Soopers, Smiths, City Market, Dillons, Mariano’s, Pick-n-Save, Copps, Metro Market, QFC)
  • LeaderNET and The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, PSAO of Cardinal Health
  • Managed Health Care Associates (retail and long-term care pharmacies)
  • Meijer, Inc.
  • Publix Super Markets, Inc.
  • Retail Business Services, LLC (including Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford Bros. Co., Stop & Shop)
  • Rite Aid Corp.
  • Southeast grocers (Winn-Dixie, Harveys, Fresco Y Mas)
  • Topco Associates, LLC (including Acme Fresh Markets, Associated Food Stores, Bashas, ​​Big-Y Pharmacy and Wellness Center, Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Super One Pharmacy, FRESH by Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Coborn’s Pharmacy, Cash Wise Pharmacy, MarketPlace Pharmacy, Giant Eagle, Hartig Drug Company, King Kullen, Food City Pharmacy, Ingles Pharmacy, Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Pharmacies, Save Mart Pharmacies, Lucky Pharmacies, SpartanNash, Price Chopper, Market 32, Tops Friendly Markets, ShopRite, Wegmans, Weis Markets , Inc.)
  • Walgreens (including Duane Reade)
  • Walmart, Inc. (including Sam’s Club)

Which health centers will distribute free N95 masks?

Through the Health Resources and Services Administration Health Center’s COVID-19 N95 Mask Program, eligible health centers can choose to participate to distribute free masks to patients and people in their communities. The program is voluntary.

About 100 to 200 health centers (listed on the hyperlink) are included in the initial phase and “should receive and start distributing masks before the end of January 2022”. The program is expected to expand in the coming weeks.

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CVS-free N95 masks will arrive as early as Thursday, including pharmacies at Target and Schnuck’s stores

CVS told USA TODAY on Wednesday that free N95 masks are expected to begin arriving at CVS Pharmacy stores and its pharmacies at Target and Schnuck stores “as of Thursday and will continue on an ongoing basis as additional supply becomes available.” .

In a statement, CVS said “signs will be posted indicating the availability of N95 masks.”

Walgreens’ free N95 mask program to start Friday at first stores

Walgreens said it will have N95 masks in various sizes available at participating locations while supplies last. There will be a maximum of three masks per person.

“We anticipate that the first stores will begin offering masks on Friday, January 28 and will continue on a rolling basis in the days and weeks thereafter,” Walgreens said in a statement to USA TODAY. “Participating stores will have signage indicating mask availability.”

Distribution of Rite Aid N95 masks

“We anticipate that the free N95 masks will be available in select stores beginning later this week, with all stores receiving them in early February,” Rite Aid said in a statement to USA TODAY on Thursday. “Customers will be able to collect the masks, up to a limit of 3 masks per person, on a display in store or at the pharmacy counter while stocks last.”

Walmart’s free N95 masks hit stores, Sam’s Club by ‘second week of February’

Walmart said in a statement to USA TODAY on Tuesday that the company expects “masks to be available by the second week of February in the front of more than 5,100 Walmart and Sam’s Clubs stores across the country.”

Masks will be available while supplies last and will be limited to three masks per person.

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Free distribution of Hy-Vee masks

Hy-Vee spokeswoman Christina Gayman said in a statement to USA TODAY that the company began receiving and distributing its first shipments of N95 masks on January 21.

“As of now, many Hy-Vee pharmacies have received and are distributing their mask allocations,” Gayman said Tuesday. “All 275 Hy-Vee pharmacies in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin will have masks by tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Free Meijer N95 Mask

Meijer, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer with more than 258 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin, said in a statement it received about 3 million government masks.

N95 masks will be in boxes on a table near the entrance to the grocery store and the welcome stand. A Meijer host, who will be wearing gloves, will arrange the masks in piles of three for customers to pick up.

Free distribution of N95 masks from Albertsons

Albertsons Companies operates stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia with banners such as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, Kings Food Markets and Balducci Gourmet Market.

In a statement to USA TODAY, the company confirmed that it is “participating in the federal government’s initiative to distribute non-surgical N95 masks nationwide free of charge in the coming weeks. We are currently working to finalize details regarding inventory and distribution”.

Kroger Free Non-Surgical N95 Masks

Kroger stores with pharmacies will distribute the free masks, the company told USA TODAY. More information is expected soon. The grocer operates several regional supermarket chains in 35 states, including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, Mariano’s, Fry’s, Smith’s, King Soopers, QFC and others.

Free face masks are coming to Winn-Dixie, Southeastern Grocers pharmacies ‘starting Friday’

Southeastern Grocers announced plans to distribute more than 2 million N95 masks across all of its in-store pharmacies, including Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie pharmacies. The masks will start arriving at the grocer’s pharmacies as early as Friday and “will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis,” the company said in a statement.

Are N95 masks better?

The CDC updated its mask information on January 14 to recognize that certain types of masks provide more protection than others.

The agency also acknowledged that certain types of masks can be more difficult to wear consistently than others and that choosing a mask that is comfortable and provides good protection is important. It also eliminated concerns about supply shortages.

“Masking is an essential public health tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and it’s important to remember that any mask is better than no mask,” the CDC said in a statement. “To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, the CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask possible that fits you well and that you wear consistently.”

The updated guidelines come as many experts advocate for increased mask protection amid growing evidence that common cloth masks do not provide enough protection against the latest variants of the virus.

This story will be updated when more information becomes available.

Contributors: Joey Garrison, Christine Fernando and Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko. For shopping news, tips and deals, join us on our Shopping Ninjas Facebook group.

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