The coronavirus pandemic is changing everything about daily life — maybe even how we eat.
Israeli company Avtipus Patents and Inventions unveiled a design for a mask that can be worn while eating, Eli Berlzon at Reuters reported. The mask is controlled by a handheld lever, which opens or closes the mouth opening, but it could also open automatically when a fork comes near it, according to company VP Asaf Gitelis.
“Then you can eat, enjoy, drink and you take out the fork and it will be closed, and you’re protected against the virus and other people sitting with you,” he told Reuters. As Reuters noted, the mask doesn’t seem suited for sauces or soups, but solid food could work, as demonstrated in the photos.
The company told Reuters that it plans to begin manufacturing the masks within a few months, priced between $0.85 and $2.85 above standard medical masks. Prices vary, but blue medical masks sell for between $20 and $30 for 50 masks on Amazon.
As parts of the world start to reopen from full coronavirus lockdowns, the masks could be a potential solution. The Hong Kong restaurant group leading the pack in reopening guidelines recommends masks for both servers and customers, though masks would still be removed to eat. While some chains in the US are planning to reopen dining rooms in states where they are allowed, they will be limited to 25% or 50% capacity in most places, and many businesses are requiring masks for customers.