Tesla, California county reach deal to resume plant next week

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Tesla Inc and officials in California have resolved their conflict over safety procedures at the automaker’s only U.S. assembly plant with a deal that permits production to restart as early as Monday, county officials stated.

The county said the automaker could take extra steps ahead of next week after CEO Elon Musk had pledged to defy authorities, saying Monday he was restarting production regardless of the prohibition. On Tuesday, he also had the support of President Donald Trump.

In a tweet, Alameda County stated that after talks with Tesla it agreed that the electric automaker can take steps “in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week”.

Tesla did not immediately commented but around the same time the county issued its statement, Musk wrote on Twitter: “Life should be lived.”

The county said it would work with police in Fremont to make sure that the automaker is complying with physical distancing and that agreed upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their employees as they prepare for full production.

On Monday, Musk stated production was restarting in Fremont, defying an order to stay closed and said if anyone had to be arrested, it should be him.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra informed CNBC that the discussion is going on between Tesla and the county. But “at the state level, we’re ready to enforce if we find that anyone is violating the state orders issued by the governor”.

On Tuesday, employee parking lots at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, were packed with vehicles. Trucks could be observed driving in and out of the factory grounds.

At the factory’s outbound logistics parking lot, where about a dozen Tesla cars were parked last week, hundreds of Tesla vehicles were observed on Tuesday.

The company filed a lawsuit against Alameda County challenging its decision that the plant should remain closed.

A county health official on Friday stated the county had asked all manufacturers, including Tesla, to postpone operations by at least another week to observe infection and hospitalization rates.

The automaker on Saturday released a plan to keep employees returning to the factory safe.

The measures, which include temperature screenings, setting up barriers to separate work areas and protective equipment for workers, are same as those set up by automakers such as General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Those automakers are set to restart at most U.S. auto plants from Monday.

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