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El Pasoan searches for free N95 Masks

EL PASO, Texas – Back on Jan. 19, President Biden announced that his administration would be giving away 400 million N95 masks for free to U.S. residents.

Additionally, President Biden announced that the masks would be coming from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile- which at the time had more than 750 million masks available. These types of masks would be available at pharmacies across the nation.

The Biden Administration also announced that Americans would receive three masks per person.

But almost two weeks since his announcement, one El Paso woman is frustrated that she still hasn’t found what was promised.

One ABC-7 viewer, who didn’t want to go on camera, said that she had visited multiple pharmacies and she’s run into problems time and time again.

She said when the program was first announced, she was thrilled. “When I first heard about the free masks, I thought, wow that is pretty good because this is El Paso, and a lot of people don’t have that extra money to spend.”

But quickly, her opinion changed.

According to her, many pharmacies in the area have told her that they aren’t participating in the program. She also said that the participating pharmacies would only offer her one mask instead of three.

“That the participants aren’t participating and the ones that are participating are limiting the number that the public can receive.”

She said she wants clarity and wants to know where she can find these masks that were promised.

ABC-7 reached out to the top pharmacies in the U.S.

A spokesperson with Walgreens said, “The first N95 mask shipments have begun arriving in Walgreens warehouses, and we are shipping them to participating stores as soon as possible.”

They said that their rollout would continue in the coming days and weeks. The pharmacy has a store locator that lists which stores receive shipments. As for the quantity, the company said they are honoring the three mask per-person guidance.

As for CVS, an official said the masks are arriving across stores on a “rolling basis.” An official also said that “masks are limited to three per person.

ABC-7 never heard back from Walmart.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Rosemary Montañez

ABC-7 reporter and weekend anchor


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