Police to supervise free mask giveaway Monday morning

MISHAWAKA, Ind. — Big Panda Buffet’s owners are giving away free general use face masks Monday morning, the third try in helping out the community.

According to Mishawaka Police Lt. Tim Williams, chaos arose from traffic before the initial giveaway could even begin Tuesday.

“We received a lot of telephone calls and reports of traffic disruptions on McKinley Avenue near Big Panda and that they were giving out free masks,” Williams said. “We went out there to check out because we also had reports of people cutting people off, getting out of cars, looking to fight, near crashes.”

Both police and the restaurant are hoping the third time will be the charm Monday morning, this time without fights or Friday’s snow.

Drivers wanting free masks will need to line up in the right lane of State Road 23 heading northbound before pulling into the west side of the mall.

Williams said this will concentrate flow of one-way traffic more efficiently.

“We will be out there to monitor and make sure there are no traffic or safety concerns,” Williams said. “If there is concern with traffic safety then we will address it at that time, but we’re hoping that for everyone that comes to this event they’ll stay in the right hand lane there on State Road 23 and just be patient.”

The giveaway is scheduled to officially go from 10 a.m. to noon at the JC Penney parking lot.

Big Panda plans to give away ten masks per car. It is drive-thru only; there will not be any walk-up service.

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