Milwaukee's free N95 mask distribution begins

Milwaukee's distribution of free N95 masks began at the Northwest and Southside Health Centers on Saturday, Jan. 8.

Dozens of cars lined the streets Saturday morning – the first day of the city's latest effort to encourage citizens to mask up.

"With this variant, it's really good to have an upgraded mask," said Nick Tomaro with the Milwaukee Health Department. "This is the opportunity to get it."

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Five hundred thousand masks have been ordered and are packaged in bags. Officials said the masks will be handed out in packs of five for a single adult, 10 for a couple and 20 for a family.

"I came out here to support people and encourage people to come out here and get these shots and the free masks," said mask recipient Prentiss Roberts.

Free N95 masks distributed in Milwaukee

Milwaukee Public Library locations will be helping with the mask distribution.

"If people think we’re going to run out, everybody comes at once which is not what we want. We are not going to run out of masks," Tomaro said. "Five hundred thousand masks are a lot of masks."

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Many people who went out on Saturday were thankful for the opportunity to restock.

"I feel like it's needed. Everybody needs to be wearing them, it's really important," mask recipient Nakayla Spicer said. "We’re happy we were able to get some more. We keep them in stock at home, but it's nice to have extras."

Free N95 masks distributed in Milwaukee

The health department asks for patience as it attempts to hand out the masks as efficiently as possible.

The Milwaukee health centers are open for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, too.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 10, all three Milwaukee Health Department testing and vaccination sites and Milwaukee library locations will be distributing the high-quality masks during their normal hours.

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