In this July 16, 2021, file photo, Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical School, displays two of the acceptable N95 face masks that are included in a COVID-19 vaccination policy in Jackson, Miss. Credit: Rogelio V. Solis / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine – Mainers can now get free N95 masks at certain pharmacy locations across the state as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread here.

The masks are available under a federal program aiming to distribute 400 million medical-grade masks from a national stockpile. Adults can claim up to three masks. Child-sized masks are not yet available. N95 masks, long recommended for health care workers, provide better protection against the virus than cloth masks because they filter smaller particles. Masks can be reused.

Pharmacies participating in the federal retail pharmacy program, as well as certain health centers, have already begun to distribute masks, with more expected to begin distributing in the coming weeks. In Maine, participating pharmacies include Walgreens, Walmart and CVS.

Here is where you can go this week — and where masks will be added soon.


Walgreens announced an initial list of stores stocking the free N95 masks over the weekend. As of Monday, 10 Maine stores were on the pharmacy’s list, mostly in rural parts of the state. Additional stores will be added in the coming days and weeks, Walgreens said.


Masks will also be available at most Walmart and Sam’s Club locations across the U.S. beginning next week, the company said. The supermarket chain has 25 locations in Maine.


CVS confirmed it is participating in the program, but it has not released a list of stores currently distributing masks, instead saying they will be arriving on a rolling basis. Pharmacies that have masks in stock plan to post signs indicating that. People can ask for masks at store counters.