Japanese restaurant chain operator Saizeriya Co. has "developed" a face mask for use when eating and drinking, possibly a boon to eateries around the world hit hard by social distancing necessitated by the coronavirus.

The method unveiled by the Italian restaurant chain Friday in a YouTube video and a news conference attended by President Issei Horino involves using origami paper-folding craft-like technique to combine an existing mask and a regular paper napkin.

In the video, a Saizeriya official demonstrates how a mask is folded in half to expose the wearer's mouth, with the napkin hanging like a handkerchief from the mask, allowing users to put a spoon in their mouth.

"It might look fragile, but the paper napkin can prevent droplets," Horino said during the news conference in Tokyo.

The company, which owns subsidiaries in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, is encouraging other restaurants to follow suit and introduce the readily available, lost-cost masks for meals.

"We want people to enjoy dining out even in the time of the coronavirus calamity," Horino said.