Employees at the Office of Emergency Management say masks will be available until supplies are exhausted.By Casey Albritton

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – As COVID-19 cases increase in the area, Hillsborough County is now offering free masks to the public to try to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. This comes just one day after the nation saw it’s deadliest day for COVID-19.

County officials tell CW44 News At 10’s Casey Albritton, residents and nursing home employees have been contacting them about the need for masks, and now residents can visit a Hillsborough County Public Library to receive their own reusable masks. “We want to make sure if it’s required for people to wear face masks, that we are able to provide that to them,” said librarian, Allie Brazis.

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Hillsborough County announced they will provide free, reusable cloth face coverings to residents at two dozen libraries beginning Thursday, December 10, 2020. In addition, the County is offering operators of small businesses the ability to request a one-time quantity of 100 face coverings, while supplies last. The mandate that face coverings must be worn in indoor locations of businesses, with certain exceptions, remains in effect.

All day on Thursday, library employees in Hillsborough County, handed out masks to anyone who needed one. “We monitor the national and local numbers and we try as much as possible to make sure the residents are safe,” said George Stewart with the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management.

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It’s an effort that Hillsborough County Emergency Management Logistics Chief, George Stewart says is more important than ever. “Financially some individuals are strapped, and then the other part is two-fold because the county has that feeling of ‘I need to do more for the citizens,'” said Stewart. Brazis, agrees, “So many people are tight on money, the holidays are right around the corner.”

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Stewart says the state sent 500,000 masks to Hillsborough County after hearing about the need. “Cloth, Hanes, reusable masks. They are good up to maybe 15 or 20 washes,” said Stewart. Residents are allowed to pick up two masks per person in their family, and by 3 p.m. on Thursday, Brazis says at least 50 people showed up to Jimmy B. Keel Public Library. “We are very happy and excited that we have so many visitors coming and asking for face coverings,” said Brazis.

Employees at the Office of Emergency Management say masks will be available until supplies are exhausted.

Lobby Pickup – the interior spaces of these buildings are open to the public.

Face coverings will be distributed from the lobby:
Bloomingdale Regional Public Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library, 2607 E. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in Tampa
Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library, 3910 S. Manhattan Ave. in Tampa
Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave. in Tampa
Maureen B. Gauzza Public Library, 11211 Countryway Blvd. in Tampa
North Tampa Branch Library, 8916 North Blvd. in Tampa
New Tampa Regional Library, 10001 Cross Creek Blvd. in Tampa
SouthShore Regional Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way in Ruskin
Town N Country Regional Public Library, 7606 Paula Drive, Ste. 120 in Tampa

Curbside Pickup – Interior spaces of these libraries are not yet open to the public; face coverings will be distributed at curbside. To minimize contact, residents should call or text the library when arriving. Signs with the phone number will be prominently posted at each site. Staff will bring the face coverings outside. No appointments are needed.
78th St Community Library, 7625 Palm River Road in Tampa Arthenia L. Joyner University Area Community Library, 13619 N. 22nd St. in Tampa
Austin Davis Public Library, 17808 Wayne Road in Odessa
Brandon Regional Library, 619 Vonderburg Drive in Brandon
Charles J. Fendig Public Library, 3909 W. Neptune St. in Tampa
James J. Lunsford Law Library, 701 E. Twiggs St. in Tampa
John F. Germany Public Library, 900 N. Ashley Drive in Tampa
Lutz Branch Library, 101 W. Lutz-Lake Fern Road in Lutz
Port Tampa City Library, 4902 W. Commerce St. in Tampa
Riverview Branch Library, 10509 Riverview Drive in Riverview
Ruskin Branch Library, 26 Dickman Drive SE in Ruskin
Seffner-Mango Branch Library, 410 N. Kingsway Road in Seffner
Seminole Heights Branch Library, 4711 Central Ave. in Tampa
Thonotosassa Branch Library, 10715 Main St. in Thonotosassa
West Tampa Branch Library, 2312 W. Union St. in Tampa

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