Mask giveaway helps thousands prepare for new stay-at-home requirement

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By Erik Runge, WGN

People lined up for hours on the Far South Side to get a free mask Sunday, as state and local leaders gave away 6,500 masks to anyone who wanted one.

While it will soon be mandatory to wear a face covering or mask in public places, many don’t yet own one as supplies have been limited.

Local leaders purchased 1,500 masks to give away, and an additional 5,000 were a gift from Willie Wilson. The businessman and community activist says he’s given away at least $1 million since the pandemic began and he plans on giving away a lot more.

Wilson joined State Representative Nick Smith, Alderman Anthony Beale and several other volunteers at the Pullman Community Center to pass them out.

“You see there is a need, there is a desperate need, and people have been waiting for two-and-a-half hours to get a basic mask,” Beale said.

Wilson says there will be more giveaways in the future, and Ald. Beale says the city should be buying masks to make sure people in Chicago can have access to them.

This article originally appeared on WGN.

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