Free N95 masks available at Meijer in Lexington

First free N95 masks have arrived at U.S. pharmacies

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The first free N95 masks have arrived at U.S. pharmacies and Meijer locations on Reynolds Road in Lexington and in Hamburg.

“It’s great because everyone needs those,” said shopper Garnetta Burton. “These masks are wonderful to have. Something to better protect you from all the problems we have in this issue.”

The effort comes as the Biden administration seeks to ramp up access to high-quality masks amid the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The Biden administration announced last week that the 400 million N95 masks will be distributed to pharmacies and community health centers, with the program expected to be fully up and running by early February.

Up to three free masks are available to every person in the U.S.

Masks are setup for distribution at some Hy-vee and Meijer Grocery stores in the midwest. At Meijer locations, the masks will be placed on tables near the store entrances and distributed by greeters. They’re giving out three N95 masks per person, but if someone asks for more, they don’t turn them away.

“I think it’s great for the community that they can come here and get these for free and be able to use them,” said Lexington resident Tommy Gandolfo. “I know that a lot of people use the other masks that aren’t as well as these are.”

Meijer confirmed to CNN on Monday that it has received “an estimated 3 million masks” that will be made available for no charge to any customer who needs them.”

ABC36 reached out to Meijer in Lexington on Reynolds Road which confirmed masks have already been placed on tables for the public.

Americans can also order free at-home covid 19 tests online. There is a limit of four tests per address.
But even with this free access to fight the coronavirus, some don’t think enough people are taking advantage, due to everything from pandemic fatigue to apathy.

“They think this is just a joke,” said Akesha Slaughter, who accepted masks from the table. “We got a new COVID strand out and they’re still not wearing masks when they’re supposed to. So no, I don’t think people are taking it as serious as they should.”>

“I do believe people’s give up on it,” Gandolfo said.. “I’ve had all three vaccines plus the flu shot. And at my age, I’m tickled to death I’ve had that done. And I’ve been blessed not to have COVID.”

Still, Slaughter is hoping for  brighter days ahead and says this is a step in the right direction.

“The fact that you can walk in the store and get one, that’s wonderful,” Slaughter said.

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