Witnesses report that Tesla’s Fremont factory is still in operation despite the Sheriff’s order that they need to comply with the shelter-in-place order in the Bay Area.
Yesterday, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office stated reportedly revoked Tesla’s status as an “essential business“:
Tesla is not an essential business as defined in the Alameda County Health Order. Tesla can maintain minimum basic operations per the Alameda County Health Order.
That’s despite a previous statement from a county official and Tesla’s own statement to employees in which it described itself as “a national critical infrastructure”:
“National Critical Infrastructure are business sectors crucial to the economic prosperity and continuity of the United States, and includes auto manufacturing and energy infrastructure as defined by the Department of Homeland Security. People need access to transportation and energy, and we are essential to providing it. We have also been in close communication with the State of California, Alameda County, and the City of Fremont, regarding the federal government’s guidance.
As a result, Tesla and our supplier network will continue operations that directly support factory production, vehicle deliveries, and service. If you work in these areas, you should continue to report to work, and if you don’t you should work from home until further notice.”
It was believed that Tesla would have to follow the Alameda County Sheriff’s order to “maintain minimum basic operations”, which according to the health order would shut down production operations.
However, we are getting reports from witnesses that the morning shift at Tesla Fremont factory started as usual. Workers are going in to work and the employee parking lot is full of cars.
Chronology of the events:
- The morning of March 16: Six counties in the Bay Area have issued a “shelter in place” order with the hope to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and flatten the growth of the virus. It goes into effect on March 17.
- The afternoon of March 16: Tesla employees are told to show up to work unless they are feeling sick.
- The evening of March 16: Elon Musk says ‘coronavirus panic is worse than virus itself’ in email to Tesla employees. He tells employees to stay home if they don’t feel comfortable, but Tesla will keep operating.
- March 17: local county authorities have confirmed Tesla is exempt as an “essential business.”
- The evening of March 17: Sheriff department says Tesla is not an ‘essential business’ and the factory must obey coronavirus shutdown order
- March 18: Witnesses at Tesla factory says that employees are coming in to work and the employee parking lot is still full of cars for the morning shift.
Update: Tesla gives employees more paid-time off if they feel sick, confirms operations will continue.
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