Flint, MI— It’s time to upgrade your mask, according to new Centers for Disease Control Guidelines. And thanks to new federal and state-level programs, you can do so for free.

The CDC updated their masking recommendations Jan. 14, noting that while all masks provide some protection against COVID-19, loosely woven cloth masks are the least effective.  

Now that there are fewer concerns related to supply shortages, the CDC recommends KN95 and N95 masks for public use.

These masks are classified as “respirators” by the Food and Drug Administration, meaning they filter at least 95% of airborne particles. They are made to fit tightly against the face and contain particles released from the mouth and nose of the wearer.

The difference between KN95s and N95s is that KN95s are based on international standards and have not been vetted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or any other U.S. organization. However, KN95s are still just as effective as N95s and are the second-best masking option, according to the CDC.

On Jan. 24, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is distributing over 10 million free KN95 masks around the state.

“We have the tools, and we know what works as we face down the Omicron variant of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a news release.

Participating organizations include local MDHHS offices and other community organizations, the news release stated.

Additionally, as part of a federal plan, pharmacies and health centers around Michigan and the United States began rolling out free N95 masks last week. Over 400 million masks were distributed between participating pharmacies.

KN95 masks can be picked up at Flint’s two MDHHS offices located at 125 E Union St., and 4809 Clio Road.

Below is a list of where residents can pick up N95 masks.

Rite Aid

According to Rite Aid’s website, free masks are available while supplies last. There is a limit of three masks per person.

Address Phone Number
2838 E Court St 
Flint, MI 4850
3717 Fenton Rd 
Flint, MI 48507
1124 N Ballenger Hwy 
Flint, MI 48504
3521 Corunna Rd 
Flint, MI 48503
4519 Richfield Rd 
Flint, MI 48506
(810) 250-0165
5018 Clio Rd 
Flint, MI 48504
(810) 787-2232
4515 Corunna Rd
Flint, MI 48532
(810) 732-7011


According to Meijer’s website, the super center chain received an estimated 3.2 million masks. They will be in boxes next to the greeter near the entrance. There is a limit of three masks per person.

AddressPhone Number
2474 W Hill Rd 
Flint, MI 48507

Kroger Pharmacy

Masks are available at Krogers with pharmacies.

Address Phone Number
3838 Richfield Rd 
Flint, MI 48506
(810) 736-9913
5249 Corunna Rd 
Flint, MI 48532
(810) 732-0130


Free masks are located at the entrance of every door.

AddressPhone Number
4313 Corunna Rd 
Flint, MI 48532


While Walgreens is currently not offering free masks at Flint locations, according to their website they are rolling out additional stores in the upcoming weeks. You can find the list as it is updated here.

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...