Tesla to Partially Reopen Fremont Plant Despite County Health Ban

CEO Elon Musk sends email to workers about restarting production, citing state's revised order

NBC Universal, Inc.

Tesla is reopening its Fremont, California, plant Friday despite county public health orders against such nonessential businesses, according to a CNBC report citing company emails.

CEO Elon Musk sent an email to employees with the Palo Alto-based electric vehicle maker, saying the Fremont plant would attempt to restart production Friday afternoon, CNBC reported.

A separate email from Tesla's HR department indicated the plant will resume "limited operations" Friday, with about 30% of workers on a typical shift, though it was unclear how the plant would produce vehicles with a skeleton crew, the report said.

Musk's message cited the revised California health order announced Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, but Alameda County's guidelines still prohibit such nonessential operations through May 31.

California’s order does not override county health orders.

The HR message said employees returning to the Fremont factory will be required to complete video training on new coronavirus safety protocols.

Tesla and Musk, for the most part, have been at odds with the state and county shelter orders halting nonessential businesses.

Late last month, Tesla asked workers at the Fremont plant to return to work in defiance of the county public health order but later retracted that request to resume production. In March, the company defied the initial Alameda County shelter order by continuing to operate the factory for days before suspending operations.

Just last week, Musk lashed out at the government shelter orders, calling them "fascist" during an expletive-laced rant on Tesla's earnings call.

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