Tesla’s Restart Threatened by Bay Area Extending Health Orders
Tesla Backtracks From Recalling Some Workers to Plant This Week
Tesla Inc. may be forced to rethink plans to call workers back to its lone U.S. vehicle-assembly plant as San Francisco Bay area counties plan to extend their shelter-in-place orders through next month.
The health officer of Alameda County -- where Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory is located -- and six of her peers in nearby areas said in a statement Monday they will issue revised orders later this week that largely keep current restrictions in place. The orders had been set to expire on May 3.
Tesla has been eager to reopen after having clashed with the county and the city of Fremont last month over whether it was an essential business and could remain open in spite of the shelter order. The company has called off having at least some workers return to the plant this week and reverted to a plan to bring them back May 4.
A paint department supervisor told employees Sunday in an email seen by Bloomberg News that there’s no need to come in this week to Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California. The company had told some workers in the paint and stamping operations to return April 29.
It’s unclear whether select workers in other parts of the plant are still being asked to report back this week. Tesla representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tesla has about 20,000 employees in the Bay area. Roughly half work at the Fremont factory, while others are spread between the headquarters in Palo Alto, various offices and showrooms throughout the region and several facilities in Lathrop. Before agreeing to halt production last month, the company made arrangements to maintain basic operations with about 2,500 staff.
The Bay area’s stay-home orders, announced March 16, were the earliest in the U.S. and have been widely credited with helping to limit the growth in coronavirus cases. Alameda’s order “appears to be working but we don’t want to risk restoring all daily activities too soon,” Neetu Balram, a spokeswoman for the county’s health department, said in an email last week.
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