Meijer began handing out free N95 masks to shoppers Monday, becoming one of the first major retail chains to do so as part of a Biden administration initiative.
The Michigan-based company and numerous other retailers enrolled in the COVID-19 Vaccination Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership are receiving an allotment of masks to distribute to the public in the coming days.
A total of 400 million face masks from the Strategic National Stockpile are being sent to retailers and health centers across the country and are expected to be given out starting sometime this week.
Meijer said in a statement that it received an estimated three million masks, which will be available for anyone who needs them.
The masks will be located in boxes on a table near the grocery store entrance, the company said in a news release. A Meijer greeter, who will be wearing gloves, will place the N95 masks in piles of three for customers to take.
Meijer isn’t the only Midwest chain to have begun giving out masks.
Des-Moines based Hy-Vee, which operates more than a dozen stores in Illinois, said the majority of its locations in the state have received shipments of N95 masks and started distribution.
All 275 Hy-Vee pharmacy locations will receive their mask allocation by mid-week, a company spokeswoman said.