The unidentified woman wrapped her black underwear around her head after being warned by a security guard at a Pick n Pay supermarket in South Africa that she wouldn’t be served without one.
In the video, which was posted to Facebook, the woman can be seen talking to a security guard while waiting in the checkout queue with her shopping.
She then pulls off her underwear as other shoppers react with shock. One can be heard repeating “what’s going on”, while another applauds her on her “brilliant” ingenuity.
“Personally, I find that acceptable,” the shopper behind the woman says.
“It is a mask. Quite frankly I think the bacteria on your knickers is less than on the mask. So well done to you. Brilliant.”
But others weren’t as impressed. One Facebook user commented “this makes me sick. We sit with a serious virus and [she thinks] a G-string will save her”.
Another added: “They should not have allowed her into the shop without a mask in the first place. Disgusting to say the least!”
The woman was far from the first to reach for her underwear when finding herself in a tight spot without a mask.
And in Dublin, Ireland, a man was spotted wearing a pair of pants on his face on board a train.
Although many countries have implemented compulsory mask-wearing in public places during the pandemic, few have defined face coverings in a way that precludes repurposing undergarments.