How To Get Free N95 Masks From Your Local Grocery Store

Over the past couple of months, health officials have been urging people living in the U.S. to not only mask up, but to wear better masks than a simple cloth face covering (via NPR). That largely means swapping out reusable masks for verified N95 masks or doubling up by using a surgical mask and a cloth mask to ensure a snug fit to help slow the spread of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19.

But with counterfeit masks and price-gouging running rampant, the Biden administration announced that it would begin shipping out a whopping 400 million N95 masks, which should have hit shelves starting January 28 according to CNN. Those masks from the government's stockpile will be made available for free across U.S. through health centers and pharmacies — including those at grocery stores (via CDC). While Americans can continue to order four free COVID-19 test kits per household through the government website, the free N95 masks should be much easier to come by in an effort to make better masks more accessible to everyone.

Check these grocery store pharmacies for free N95 masks

According to CNN, everyone can get up to three N95 masks for free from participating health centers and pharmacies. Once you get to a location that is stocked with the free masks, simply visit the pharmacy or look for signs pointing to where they can be picked up. It is worth noting that the masks will only be available while supplies last, so you might not want to wait too long to pick up yours during your next grocery run.

The CDC explained that the pharmacies at most major grocery store chains will be stocked with the free masks, which will likely make it easier for people to get their hands on good N95 masks without having to run an extra errand. More specifically, you can look for the masks at Publix, Meijer, Costco, Walmart, H-E-B, and Hy-Vee. Groups of grocery stores will also participate such as Albertsons Companies, Inc. which includes Albertsons, Acme, and Safeway, among many others; Kroger Co. which includes Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, and Ralph's, as well as others; and Retail Business Services, LLC entailing Food Lion, Stop& Shop, and Little Giant Company, again, among others. Southeastern Grocers' Winn-Dixie and Harveys, as well as Topco Associates, LLC's ShopRite, Wegmans, and Sav Mart, among the groups' other chains, are also included in the program.

For the full list, check the CDC website to find out which chains in your state should have the masks. It may also be worth calling ahead if you're planning a special trip to pick up the masks to be sure they're still available.