Minneapolis providing free N95 masks on Aug. 4 for bad air quality protection

The Minneapolis City Health Department will be offering free N95 masks to people on Friday, Aug. 4 at five locations around the city, but due to high demand, the online sign-up required at most spots has already been turned off.

The free masks are meant to help people stay safe when there is poor air quality due to wildfires smoke or ozone. There have already been many air quality alerts issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) this summer.

RELATED: Canadian wildfire smoke causes worst-ever air quality in Twin Cities

The masks can be claimed by individuals, organizations and businesses with a limit of 200 masks per person or entity. The city in all has 40,000 masks to distribute and a city spokesperson says that as of Friday, July 28, nearly 35,000 of the N95 masks have already been claimed through the online signup.

“Throughout our state and city, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of air quality alerts due to wildfires and ozone production concerns,” said Deputy Commissioner Heidi Ritchie, Minneapolis Health Department. “Providing masks to help minimize the impacts of poor air quality is one step in keeping people healthy. It’s especially important for those who have sensitivities and/or can’t stay indoors, like our community of unsheltered and housing unstable neighbors.” 

Masks that will be distributed at the four fire stations required people to signup online in advance. Again, the city is no longer taking additional signups due to high demand. They will be handed out from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at these four locations for those who previously signed up:

  • Fire Station 14: 2002 Lowry Ave. N.
  • Fire Station 15: 2701 Johnson Ave. NE
  • Fire Station 21: 3209 38th St. E.
  • Fire Station 27: 5410 Nicollet Ave. S.

However, at one downtown location, people are allowed to drop by, without any signup needed, to pick up masks from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., while supplies last. The city will have around 5,000 masks to give out. That location is:

  • Public Service Building: 505 S. Fourth Ave, enter at main entrance

Currently, there are no air quality alerts in place in Minnesota. An alert that included the metro area initially was forecasted to go through 9 p.m. Thursday, but overnight storms Tuesday into Wednesday helped improve the ozone earlier than expected.

*Editor’s Note: This article has been edited to reflect the correct date of mask distribution which is Friday, Aug. 4, and not Friday, July 28 as previously stated.