Biden announces Free Masks and Home Tests as Omicron peaks (And how to get them)

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The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free to U.S. residents at thousands of pharmacies and other locations starting next week. This will be the largest distribution of free masks by the federal government to the public since the covid-19 pandemic began.

The masks will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile (thank you President Trump), which has more than 750 million of the highly protective masks on hand. The masks will be available for pickup at pharmacies and community health centers across the country. They will begin shipping this week for distribution starting late next week, the White House said.

The Biden Administration also launched its COVIDTests.gov website Wednesday Jan 19 to provide up to four at-home COVID tests per family.

Here is how you can get your free N95 masks and at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government.

How to get free at-home COVID-19 tests

Each household can place an order for four at-home COVID-19 tests per residential address on COVIDTests.gov. You do not have a choice in how many you get to order; the four tests are all allocated per household.

When you visit the website, click the button for “Order Free At-Home Tests” and you will be taken to a webpage run by the United States Postal Service at special.usps.com/testkits. Then complete the fields for your first and last name, your email — but only if you want to receive shipping notifications — and your shipping address.

On the right, you’ll see your order, four tests with a price of $0. Next, click the green button to “Check Out Now,” review your order and click “Place My Order.”

If you live in an apartment building or other multi-family dwelling, be sure to enter your unit or apartment number because more than one order at the same exact residential address will be denied.

How to get free N95 masks

The government will make the masks available for pickup at pharmacies and community health centers that have partnered with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaignthroughout the country.

The free masks will be limited to three per person, a White House official said.

They will begin shipping this week for distribution starting late next week, the White House said. As with the COVID-19 tests, they will be free to Americans.

It is still unknown, however, if kid-sized N95 masks will be available and how often the masks can be reworn.