Elon Musk's Tesla factory drama is mostly resolved

Elon Musk's Tesla factory drama is mostly resolved

Musk's Tesla factory in Fremont, California, will be allowed to resume limited operations next week, county officials announced late Tuesday night.

"We will be working with the Fremont Police Department to verify Tesla is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers as they prepare for full production", county health officials said in a written statement.

They also said the electric vehicle company had been approved to resume some activities ahead of the re-opening.

Musk announced plans to re-open the Fremont plant on Monday, stating in a tweet: "If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me". The company met a Monday deadline to submit a site-specific plan to protect worker safety. California's attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said in an interview on CNBC Wednesday morning that the state is prepared to enforce its stay-at-home rules if needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The billionaire also threatened to move the plant from California, where Tesla has enjoyed tax breaks and rising sales, to Texas or Nevada.

State law allows a fine of up to $1,000 a day or up to 90 days in jail for operating in violation of health orders. It employs about 10,000 workers. The Bay area was the first region in the country to lock down via shelter in place orders and has been the most cautious about reopening, citing the need to ramp up testing capacity, contact tracing and making sure that there is an ample supply of PPE, or personal protective equipment. Gov. Gavin Newsom has repeatedly said counties can impose restrictions that are more stringent than state orders. Some auto parts plants were to restart production this week.

Tesla issued a play book for its employees about the new protocols in place at the Fremont plant
Tesla issued a play book for its employees about the new protocols in place at the Fremont plant

In an email obtained by the Guardian from Tesla's management to its workers, the firm stated: "Choosing not to report to work may eliminate or reduce your eligibility for unemployment depending on your state's unemployment agency".

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk made it abundantly clear via Twitter that he has no intention of continuing to abide by a local ban on nonessential activity, which county officials have said includes Tesla's factory in Fremont, California.

As KPIX reports, some Tesla employees felt caught between contradictory orders, with supervisors calling them into work on Sunday evening, and the county telling them that they should still be at home. In Alameda, all but essential businesses must remain shut until the end of May.

Tesla relesed a plan to maintain worker safety, including the wearing of gloves and masks, installing barriers between workers and maintaining social distancing. Haggerty said the company initially pushed back on checking employee temperatures before boarding a company bus to get to work.

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