Tesla asks employees to resume production at Fremont plant despite coronavirus

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Tesla management has asked dozens of workers to get back to work on Wednesday April 29th in order to restart production at the company’s Fremont, California car plant, according to a CNBC report.

The call for at least some workers to return to work full shifts took place even when local health orders require the automaker to adhere to “minimum basic operations” at that plant until end-of-day May 3. Bloomberg earlier reported about the internal messages.

In Fremont, health orders have not been reduced as of now, according to Sgt. Ray Kelly, a public information officer for Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. State and local officials are expected to update residents and businesses by May 3 as to whether the orders will be modified or lifted.

Under those orders, the automaker’s Fremont factory was supposed to suspend vehicle production on Thursday March 19.

But the automaker resisted, and continued to produce cars there for another five days while its legal and policy teams argued with local officials that they should be categorized as an “essential business.” If considered essential, the plant could have continued to run with a few Covid-19 protocols in place to protect employees.

Before it suspended vehicle production, the automaker started taking the temperature of workers entering its Fremont factory, and provide face masks to some.

Since then, Tesla has asked many workers to work from home, furloughed others, and cut workers’ salaries, while stopping contractors’ assignments.

The region in question, Alameda County, has a total of 1,468 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 52 deaths because of the coronavirus across the county. An estimated 98 of those confirmed cases happened in Fremont.

About 993,103 people in the US have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 55,729 people in the country.

Tesla is preparing to report first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, the same day it has called some employees back for shifts at Fremont.

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