Skip to main content

Target issues apology after being called out for selling face masks in WA

The company says the N95 masks "were available for purchase in error."

At a time when N95 respirator masks are in critically short supply across the country, a large stack of them appeared at a Target in Washington state — and now it's causing PR fallout for the retail giant. 

On Saturday, Seattle reporter Ann Dornfield tweeted a picture of the face masks on the shelves at a local store, noting shortages of the item at hospitals: 

The post was retweeted hundreds of times, leading to numerous angry comments and calls for the retailer to donate the masks to hospitals.

Target replied to the tweet Saturday evening with the following statement:

Today in select Seattle stores, N95 masks were available for purchase in error. We’re removing & donating them to the WA State Dept. of Health. We’re also reviewing inventory for additional masks to be donated. Target’s commitment to communities is unwavering & we apologize.

The company has also received some backlash for the apology itself, which it has posted multiple times in response to critical tweets in the thread started by Ann Dornfied. 

The oversight may not be limited to Seattle, with other users tweeting pictures of similar displays at stores in Annapolis, Maryland, and San Jose, California:

As of this writing, Target has not addressed these tweets. 

N95 masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) have been in critically short supply amid the coronavirus pandemic, with doctors and nurses being forced to reuse masks or turn to items like bandanas instead. 

This poses a dire situation, as the coronavirus has been found to hit healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic especially hard — with CNN noting a number of doctors dying or ending up in critical condition because of COVID-19.

Manufacturers are racing to meet demand, with a Friday report saying that Minnesota's own 3M has doubled global production of the N95 over the past two months. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2023-01-29 at 1.54.31 PM

Missing: Minnesota man last seen in Sioux Falls area

Aaron Pearson, 41, was reported missing on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Protest for Tyre Nichols to be held outside MN Governor’s Mansion

Activists groups say they’ll call on Gov. Tim Walz and the Legislature to implement police reforms.

Pool

Minnesota pool contractor banned from industry, must pay $2 million-plus

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed suit against Charles Workman and his company, MN Crete Pools, LLC, in August.

Minneapolis police

St. Paul man identified as victim of north Minneapolis homicide

The shooting occurred on the 2200 block of Emerson Avenue North on Wednesday.

ambulance

Two youths seriously injured after being struck by driver in Bloomington

Police say the boy is in a critical condition, while the girl has severe injuries.

Rosedale Center

Two men sentenced for carjacking in Rosedale Center parking lot

Leon Kismit Bell, 49, and Jack Mitchell Piche, 23, were sentenced in U.S. District Court on Jan. 20.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 3.59.30 PM

Police identify White Bear Lake officer shot while serving warrant

The officer is a six-year veteran of the department.

abortion, planned parenthood

Minnesota Senate passes bill codifying abortion into state law

Having already passed in the House, it will now be sent to Gov. Tim Walz for signing into law.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

Related

N95 mask

Ellison to price-gougers: 'My office and I are coming after you'

A Little Canada-based company started selling N95 masks having never sold them before.

N95 respirator mask.

Amid 'drastic' shortages, MN nurse group asking for N95 mask donations

Got any unused ones? You can give them to the MN Nurses Association.

mask

Walz launches 'homemade mask drive' to help congregate living facilities

He's calling on "crafters, sewers, and creatives" for help.

N95 mask

President Trump orders 3M to prioritize producing N95 masks

It comes after 3M was criticized for shipping masks to foreign countries.

PPE, coronavirus, covid-19

Health department down to 1 week supply of gowns, low on other PPE

The shortage comes as Minnesota is competing with other states for PPE supplies.

PPE, coronavirus, covid-19

Coronavirus stats: Key points from Minnesota's new data site

The site is interactive and allows updated information for supplies and hospital capacity.

Screen Shot 2020-07-30 at 7.12.22 PM

LARK Toys says couple ranted at staff over face mask requirement

The couple tried to claim a medical exemption at the famous Wabasha toy store.

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

Rochester mayor seeking support for increased mask mandate

Masks will soon be required at city facilities.