Free Milwaukee masks: Libraries out same day distribution resumed

Milwaukee Public Library locations are out of free N95 masks as of 12:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the health department. 

The Milwaukee Health Department announced that the library and health clinic sites would have masks available again Thursday after running out of its initial 500,000 mask allotment earlier in the week. 

Masks remain available at those three health department sites – the Northwest Health Center, Southside Health Center and Menomonee Valley Site – while supplies last. Officials anticipate all locations could be out by the end of the day Thursday or on Friday.

FOX6 News was at the Martin Luther King library branch earlier Thursday and saw many people lined up at least an hour before the site opened. Some people even brought lawn chairs while waiting for a pack of masks.

"It’s a deadly and very contagious virus. I want to live. I’m getting ready to retire. I want to live and enjoy my retirement," said resident Joanne Hankins, who waited for masks Thursday.

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Roughly 130,000 masks were provided for library distributions. All 13 branches ran out by Thursday afternoon.

"Given our experience earlier, this will happen pretty fast," said Nick Tomaro, the Milwaukee Health Department's emergency preparedness environmental health director. "This is better protection than a cloth mask."

Free N95 masks distributed at Milwaukee Public Library's Martin Luther King branch

The health department is asking for patience after some people have tried to steal masks or threaten staff members.

"It’s not insignificant to get a million masks out to the public," Tomaro said. "We’re doing the best we can to get these out as efficiently as possible, but you might have to wait a little bit."

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The initial wave of distribution ran out in less than three days. In all, the Milwaukee Health Department anticipates distributing over one million masks in a week.

A full list of locations and hours can be found on the city's website.

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