As the world is getting used to life in times of the pandemic, we now know that face masks will continue to be a vital part of our daily lives. But having your mouth covered at all times means that your smile is also invisible, and that may ruin the whole friendly vibe we all need these days.

But Japanese discount store Takeya has come up with a creative solution. They just launched a “Smile Campaign” that aims to make their employees look more approachable and friendly. As a result, every staff member of the store is now wearing a mask with a printed human smile on it.

The store announced their initiative on Twitter, saying that: “Since the pandemic has normalized wearing masks, we’re launching a ‘Smile campaign’ to show how we would still like to bring you our smiles through a mask.” The result is both fun and kinda odd-looking, but hey, there can’t be too many smiles in this world! Even if it’s just a printed one.

More info: Twitter | Takeya.co.jp

Image credits: takeya_co_jp

Image credits: takeya_co_jp

Image credits: takeya_co_jp

The unique initiative has certainly put a smile on our face. However, one should not forget that wearing masks is serious business and can certainly help to protect from the spread of the virus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear masks in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

One mask comes with a realistic-looking male smile on it

Image credits: takeya_co_jp

Image credits: takeya_co_jp

And another one is aimed at women

Image credits: takeya_co_jp

Image credits: takeya_co_jp

The recent research done by scientists of Duke University in North Carolina showed that not all types of masks do an equally good job in protecting from the virus. They found that N95 non-valved masks used by healthcare professionals are the best at stopping the transmission of respiratory droplets.

Meanwhile, neck fleeces performed the worst because the material broke down large droplets into smaller ones that spread into the air more easily. The scientists were extremely surprised about the results, as the researcher Martin Fischer, who conducted the test, confirmed that “the number of particles measured with the fleece actually exceeded the number of particles measured without wearing any mask.”

Read more about the efficacy of various face coverings in Bored Panda’s previous article here.

And now the staff members of Takeya are smiling wide!

Image credits: takeya_co_jp

Image credits: takeya_co_jp

Image credits: takeya_co_jp

Their “Smile Campaign” has made it to the news

Image credits: ANNnewsCH

Image credits: ANNnewsCH

Image credits: ANNnewsCH

Image credits: ANNnewsCH

Image credits: ANNnewsCH

Watch the clip about Takeya’s smile masks that aired on the local news

This is what people had to say about the idea