President Joe Biden’s administration announced Wednesday a new program to deliver free masks to Americans in communities around the country.
“While masks are widely available in many different shapes and sizes, many low-income Americans still lack affordable access to this basic protection,” Biden’s Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters during a press briefing.
The Biden administration will spend $86 million to send more than 25 million masks to community health centers, food pantries, and soup kitchens to encourage more Americans to wear masks to help stop the coronavirus pandemic.
Zients said the program would target low-income communities.
“We really believe that this policy makes a lot of sense in that it allows people who are not able to find or afford masks,” he said.
The masks will be made of cloth and will be made in America, Zients confirmed.
“Not all Americans are wearing masks regularly not all Americas have access and not all masks are equal,” he said.
The program will begin in March.
Zients touted the new program as another example of President Biden keeping his promise to focus on “racial equity” as he continued to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The White House said that two-thirds of people in community health centers were living in poverty and that 60 percent were racial or ethnic minorities.
“It’s part of our equity strategy and central to that,” Zients said.
The Department of Health and Human Services will team up with the Department of Defense on the program, according to the White House.
On his first day in office, Biden issued an executive order mandating masks on federal property.