MONTREAL -- If you’re a certain age, you may recall this process: slip in a coin, twist the dial, lift the silver flap with a beaver on it, and out comes... a treat. A COVID-19 mask, to be specific.

Montreal man Jamie Berenbaum happened to have hundreds of gumball machines in storage when the pandemic hit, he said.

He works at local company KMA Industries, which describes itself as a wholesaler of “everyday items.”

"My friends know me as ‘the ebayanator,’” he told CTV News.

“I sell full-time on eBay a variety of products, and one of my deals that I purchased were some bubblegum and capsule machines.”

He decided it was the perfect time to put the machines to use, especially with Quebec’s mandatory mask law just come into effect.

“The idea is that if you forget your mask or if it breaks and you're already out in public, it gives you the perfect time to buy a replacement,” Berenbaum explains.

He packed the gumball machines full of small capsules containing masks and started setting them up around town.

The owners of a garden centre, the Pépinière Jasmin, say it’s nice to be able to give maskless customers another option instead of turning them away.

“People sometimes, they just forget about it,” said Karina Jasmin.

“When it's available, they use it and that's fine for us. So it's good for them and it's good for us.”

It may not be candy, but these days people have to take what they can get.