Elon Musk’s Tesla factory in Fremont, California, is up and running again despite the coronavirus lockdown order issued by Alameda county officials. The plant started operations over the weekend producing the Tesla Model 3 and other electric vehicles will be on the production line as soon as this week.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported the news using information from an unnamed worker at the factory and Musk’s social media and website postings:
Tesla said on its website on Saturday that it “has started the process of resuming operations.” The company did not respond to an emailed request for comment and has not responded to emails sent from the Chronicle since March. The massive factory has over 10,000 workers during normal operations.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter on Monday that “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”
Some workers returned to the factory on Wednesday, The Chronicle previously reported, to prepare for a return to work ahead of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement Friday that some businesses, including manufacturing, could return to limited operations. Newsom said that local jurisdictions could impose greater restrictions.
When asked a press conference on Monday about Tesla, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said he was not aware of the opening but again said that counties can put more restrictive policies in place.
“My understanding is they have had some very constructive conversations with the folks at that facility — the county health director — and they’re working to focus on the health and safety of the employees at that facility,” Newsom said. “My belief and hope and expectation is as early as next week they will be able to resume.”
“The county said in a press release Monday that it is aware Tesla is moving beyond basic operations allowed during the shelter-in-place period, but did not appear poised to stop the production lines Monday,” the Chronicle reported.
“We are addressing this matter using the same phased approach we use for other businesses which have violated the order in the past, and we hope that Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures,” the press release said.
According to the Tesla website, the factory will have increased cleaning protocol and check employees for fever. More protective equipment like masks and hand sanitizer also would be in place.
Testing and contact tracing were not included in the plan.
“The Tesla worker said production would be slowed on some lines to allow fewer workers to perform tasks more slowly that multiple workers previously did more quickly in order to allow for social distancing,” the Chronicle reported. “In emails previously obtained by The Chronicle, top human resources executive Valerie Workman and Musk have said workers who do not feel safe returning to work do not have to.”
As Breitbart News reported, Musk has sued local authorities in California over lockdown orders and that he had previously threatened to pull his company out of California to Texas or Nevada.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter