Major retailers giving out nonsurgical N95 masks for free

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 6:22 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Mask up, two words everyone is used to hearing.

And thanks to major retailers like Meijer, their partnership with Department of Health and Human Services is allowing people to to mask up properly with free nonsurgical N95 masks.

“It’s been a priority the Biden administration to make higher quality masks available. My understanding is they have begun to arrive in St. Joseph County,” St. Joseph County Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says.

Moving forward, Meijer customers can expect to start seeing bags of three free nonsurgical N95 masks available to each person as they walk in.

But they’re not alone. Martin’s Supermarket is also handing out free N95s. Grocery store chain Kroger is on board too. However, Public Affairs Manager Eric Holvorson says a nationwide demand for free N95s are delaying distribution among Kroger stores.

“We’re talking about 11 million masks that will be distributed across all members of the Kroger family of companies so we have a huge commitment to try and make this work. And I think that is why we encountered so many of these challenges just because there are so many masks that need to be distributed across the country,” Holvorson.

As Dr. Fox explains, nonsurgical N95 masks can do wonders when protecting against COVID-19, but only if people are willing to put them on.

“They are clearly very effective because you look in the health care setting, there is very little COVID transmission to health care workers who are properly wearing a properly fit N95 mask,” Dr. Fox says. “I have some concern on how widely they are adopted but for those people who have been conscientious of masks and have been looking for a higher quality mask, I think it is great for them to have access to it and I hope they take advantage of it.”

At this time, both Meijer and Martin’s Supermarkets currently have a limited supply of free N95 masks that can be collected just inside the front doors of each store.

As for Kroger, they have not put a timetable on when they will receive their supply of free masks but when they do, we will keep you updated right here on 16 News Now

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