Plastic document covers supplied by Wisbech firm will be used as face shields for NHS workers

Sample of the plastic sheets used for the masks. Image: Elmstok Ltd

Sample of the plastic sheets used for the masks. Image: Elmstok Ltd - Credit: Elmstok Ltd

Elmstok Ltd has seen a surge in demand in their plastic document covers which are now being used to make protective shields for key workers in the coronavirus pandemic.

The company, in Algores Way, has supplied over 1 million sheets to a wide variety of companies making much-needed face shields for those on the front line in the response.

Malcolm Starr, its managing director, explained it usually supplies customers with 6,000 sheets a year from the same product line.

He said: “A product we usually supply as a cover to a report is now in demand as protective wear for our key workers during this disaster.

“We had the best part of 700,000 clear binding covers in stock - and those were all sold last week.

“More were sourced from the suppliers we could get hold of, but now absolutely everywhere is out of stock.”

Companies, universities and even schools across the country have been making plastic masks for key workers with whatever materials available.

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The organisations approaching Elmstok Ltd for the plastic sheets are not regular customers.

He said: “The companies approaching us are businesses we’ve never heard of, but they’re working endless hours to produce masks as quickly as possible.

“This week, for example, we had an order for 50,000 sheets from Middlesex University for masks going to NHS staff on the front line.”

The company also supplies a range of printing-related products, from specialist printers to stationary used for presenting documents.

Mr Starr added that Elmstok Ltd didn’t increase their prices when demand surged and it has also donated sheets to hospitals directly.

The company had already furloughed all seven staff members so friends have been called in to help handle the orders.

The UK government says hundreds of millions of protective items have been delivered to NHS staff following criticism for the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

However on Wednesday (April 8), the GMB union raised concerns that ambulance staff remain at risk because there’s still a lack of PPE for them.

Care homes, social workers and other front line professions have also been highlighting the issue.