Free N95 masks: Where will you be able to get them in western Pennsylvania?

PITTSBURGH — The rollout of free N95 masks from the federal government is underway, and western Pennsylvanians should be able to get them in some stores by the end of the week.

More than 400 million masks will be given out across the United States.

In western Pennsylvania, they’ll be found at businesses including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and other pharmacies and health centers. The specifics about which store locations will have the masks and when the masks will arrive are still unknown.

There will be a limit of three masks per adult.

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As the name suggests, N95 masks filter out 95% of airborne particles when used correctly. That’s drastically better than cloth masks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, N95 masks can be reused depending on fit, filtration, contamination and damage.

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While the free N95 masks should start becoming available this week, officials said the program won’t be fully up and running by early next month.

The free masks are coming from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile.

Channel 11 News reached out to stores about mask availability and received the following responses.

Walmart and Sam’s Club

“We anticipate masks will be available by the second week of February at the front of more than 5,100 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs across the country for individuals to pick-up three masks per person as determined by the federal government to help keep themselves and others healthy, while supplies last.”

CVS

“Through our continued participation in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, we’ll be offering access free N95 masks at CVS Pharmacy locations in the coming weeks as we receive supply from the Federal Government. Our work to distribute high-quality masks as part of this program is an extension of our commitment to providing equitable access to the tools necessary to combat COVID-19, including testing, vaccines, and authorized therapies.”

Walgreens

“We are pleased to partner with the Administration to make N95 masks in varying sizes available free of charge at participating Walgreens locations while supplies last. Customers and patients can pick up a maximum of three masks per person. 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. Participating stores will have signage indicating mask availability.”

Rite Aid

“As a partner of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, we are proud to help make these free high-quality masks easily accessible and convenient for our customers at all of our locations, providing them with another tool in the continued fight against COVID-19. We anticipate the free N95 masks will be available in some stores beginning later this week with all stores receiving them by early February. Customers will be able to pick up the masks, with a limit of 3 masks per person, at an in-store display or the pharmacy counter while supplies last.”