Coronavirus: French firm wants us to put on a happy facemask

Company offers customers chance to have their smile printed on washable protective equipment

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A French company wants to put the smile back on people's faces - even when they are out and about wearing a facemask.

Tcheezebox, a Lyon-based company specialising in photo booth rentals, teamed up with a textile printing supplier to offer washable facemasks that protect against the transmission of coronavirus - and feature an image of each customer's smile.

Company co-founder Karen Arouasse said inspiration came after France emerged from confinement and masks became obligatory in many public places: "During the pandemic, we had a huge drop in activity. We started to think about what we could do and we combined our skills - him on the production and printing side, and us on the image side."

The idea has been a success. "Today we have had a lot of requests," Ms Arrouasse said. "The idea was really to give back and put back a little conviviality and get out of this anxiety-provoking period," she adds.

The fabric masks, which are proudly 'Made in France' can be washed 50 times each, and meet Association Française de Normalisation (Afnor) standards, the company said.

Other images, including company logos, can be printed on the masks.