The working area is a replaceable piece - its designed to peal out - the top edge is the only part that has double stick going across it. When new the plastic surface is covered with a clear protective peal off plastic sheet. Please check and see if this is what your are seeing on yours - the actual plastic working mats doesn't bend all that easily unless its been pulled up out of its recessed area and bent.
The plastic that has pealed - is it clear? if so then that is indeed the clear protective coat which is to be pealed off before using.