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Arkansas family creates hanging blanket for pandemic-friendly hugs

April 24 (UPI) -- An Arkansas family is going viral after taking to social media to show off their invention: a "plastic hug blanket" to allow for social distancing-compliant embraces.

Paul Ayoub of Conway said the "plastic hug blanket" was concocted by his wife, Katie, to allow the family to meet and embrace a new arrival.

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"It was my wife's idea that I didn't support in the beginning, it was just a crazy idea," Ayoub told KTHV-TV. "It all spawned from the fact that my sister-in-law Kristie is having my niece, Mariah."

The blanket, which hangs like a curtain in the Ayoub family's front doorway, was constructed from items including a shower curtain, tape and hot glue. It includes arm holes with sleeves to allow for a full hug through the protective barrier.

"My wife bought jumbo size bags, gallon size bags, and those are the arm holes," Ayoub said.

Ayoub posted a video of his family testing out the plastic hug blanket on TikTok, where it quickly went viral with millions of views.

"It exploded and I got an 'I told you' so from my wife. Rightfully so, she was like, 'I just made you TikTok famous,'" Ayoub said. "I think people are missing things that we take for granted, like little things like a hug. In a time where things seem helpless and scary, people gravitated towards it."

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