A plastic bottle supplier is to close its doors today, despite experiencing a brief boom driven by public concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Plastic Bottles Company, in Outcast, near Ulverston, experienced a short boom in trade over the last five week as there was a run on plastic bottles for hand sanitiser.

However, managing director Collette Butterworth said it had now virtually run out of stock and was closing in order to protect the safety of its 10 employees.

The company sources plastic bottles and related parts which it then sells onto firms.

Collette said it had sold up to 800,000 units in the last five weeks, as there was a surge in demand.

It had sold out of components such as atomisers, dispensing caps and lotion pumps around early March, she said.

“We are aware that although we buy products from the UK, many of our suppliers do purchase from China,” she said.

As production in China had slowed since the beginning of the global outbreak, this had seen their supplies dry up.

She said it was also difficult to protect workers, who had to operate in close processing orders.

“It’s very difficult to facilitate staff working from home and we can’t facilitate them being constantly two metres away from each other,” she said.

“That’s one of the main reasons we decided to shut up shop, because of the welfare of our staff. We feel the best thing we can do is to shut the doors until further notice.”

Collette said she had personally been trying to make sure that larger orders had been going to places that were supplying “key workers” and not just to make money from the situation.

Despite the shutdown, she said the company would be able to cover staff salaries “for about 12 weeks”.