City of Milwaukee distributes free N95 masks to residents at testing, library locations

NOW: City of Milwaukee distributes free N95 masks to residents at testing, library locations

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The city of Milwaukee is giving away half-a-million free masks as city officials continue to debate whether or not to bring back a city mask ordinance to help fight against COVID-19.

Residents can now go to 13 libraries around the city, in addition to the city's three testing sites, to get the N95 adult masks.

"I think when you live in any country, state or what have you, when the government does something like this in a pandemic all hands are on deck. So every measure that protects people's lives shows respect and we appreciate it," said resident Terryl Counts.

The distribution began on Saturday morning, Jan. 8, when residents picked up N95 masks at the Northwest and Southside health and testing centers. Mayor Cavalier Johnson thanked the state for sending 500,000 N95 masks to give away. "At this time the N95s we have in hand are for adults. They will be handed out in packages of five for a single adult, 10 for a couple or 20 for a family," CBS 58 was told.

Over the weekend, the health department told CBS 58 it gave out 61,300 N95 masks.

City leaders said they expect to get an order of 50,000 KN95 masks by Wednesday, and there are plans to order KN95 masks for children.

One man told CBS 58 the masks are giving him a little bit of his freedom back.

"It helps because the regular masks, the medical masks, they don't last that long, you can't wash them. You know, you use them, you throw them away. This is more what I need," said resident Jeffrey Johnikin.

The hours vary for the library locations. It is advised to check the times and call ahead to make sure masks are still available.

To find out where you can receive a mask, click here.

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