A CITY business is providing vital kit to key workers including doctors, nurses and truck drivers despite being forced to close their shop temporarily due to coronavirus.

Meanwhile, surgical masks and other protective kit are increasingly hard to come by in Worcester as worldwide demand rises during the pandemic. The World Health Organisation is looking at whether masks should be worn to protect against the spread of Covid-19. One German city, Jena, has insisted people wear masks when shopping or on public transport while the Czech Republic requires people to wear them in public.

Public Health England says masks play an important role in a clinical setting but there is very little benefit outside such settings.

The owner of JobTogs, based in The Tything, Worcester, said there was a national shortage of masks because China, the source of their own supplies, had the virus first.

However, the city company continues to supply vital kit to frontline doctors and nurses and other key workers despite the outbreak. Owner Cath Underwood said: “We have been supplying workwear and personal protective equipment in Worcester for 35 years.

“We, of course, had to temporarily shut The Tything shop under government restrictions and furlough the staff but luckily we have an established website.

“We are supporting people who still have to work in the community from doctors and nurses on one hand to truck drivers and workers being recruited to work in the food chain on the other. We like to think local businesses can pull together in these uncertain times - adapting is key and using technology to keep in touch but stay safe too.”

She added: “Masks were not a real part of our sales to be honest but we buy off the companies that sell them and the whole disposable workwear chain has been hit hard globally. What we do is sell uniforms for doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, we sell hi viz vests and safety boots, polo shirts,work trousers for truckers and warehouse staff- many of whom are key workers.”

A Worcester pharmacist, who declined to be named, said it was getting more and more difficult to source PPE and that suppliers had put up prices. Some suppliers were also saying they could only send stock to hospitals and other clinical settings, he said.