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Tesla reopens Fremont factory despite shutdown order

May 12, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

Tesla has reopened its car factory in Fremont despite a county health authorities order for all non-essential businesses to remain shut down.

Claudia Assis reported the news for MarketWatch:

Tesla Inc. escalated a showdown with local health authorities and reopened its Fremont, Calif., car-making plant beyond minimal operations.

Chief Executive Elon Musk earlier Monday vowed on Twitter to reopen the plant, Tesla’s TSLA, -0.99% sole U.S. car-making facility, in defiance of a regional shutdown order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The plant is located in Alameda County, one of the six San Francisco Bay Area counties under a regional shelter-in-place order set to expire May 31.

County health authorities said in a statement late Monday they have learned the plant has reopened beyond basic maintenance, and that they have notified Tesla it could only maintain minimal operations until an approved plan is in place.

It was unclear whether Tesla would suffer any consequences for reopening without a plan in place.

Sean O’Kane from The Verge wrote:

Tesla is also calling back workers that were placed on furlough last month, according to an email viewed by The Verge. The company had previously only told certain workers to report back to the factory later this week, as was reported by Business Insider. After this article was published, Musk tweeted that Tesla is reopening in violation of Alameda County’s order and said he’ll work on the production line. “If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” he wrote.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. After this article was published, Alameda County’s Public Health Department issued a statement saying that it is waiting for Tesla to submit a plan on how it will reopen the factory, and says it has told Tesla it can only keep minimum operations running until that plan is approved.

CNN’s Brian Fung noted:

Musk has argued that restrictions put in place by Alameda County closing non-essential businesses, where Tesla’s Fremont factory is based, are overly aggressive and unconstitutional. On Saturday, the company filed a federal lawsuit against the county. Musk has also threatened to relocate Tesla’s manufacturing out of California.

In a statement Monday afternoon, county officials said they are negotiating with Tesla on a plan to reopen the plant more fully.

“We continue to move closer to an agreed upon safety plan for reopening beyond Minimum Basic Operations by working through steps that Tesla has agreed to adopt,” the Alameda County Public Health Department said in a statement. “These steps include improving employee health screening procedures and engaging front-line staff on their concerns and feedback regarding safety protocols.”

 

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