California has set rules to allow state manufacturers to begin reopening from a coronavirus lockdown, drawing an enthusiastic "Yeah!!" from Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk. Picture: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu
California has set rules to allow state manufacturers to begin reopening from a coronavirus lockdown, drawing an enthusiastic "Yeah!!" from Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk. Picture: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Tesla's Elon Musk cheers after California sets rules to reopen manufacturing

By Peter Henderson Time of article published May 8, 2020

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San Francisco - California has set rules to allow state manufacturers to begin reopening on Friday from a coronavirus lockdown, Governor Gavin Newsom said, drawing an enthusiastic "Yeah!!" on Twitter from Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk.

But Tesla is located in one of the San Francisco Bay Area counties, Alameda, that have a separate lockdown scheduled to last until the end of May. Under that county order, Tesla's only U.S. vehicle factory, in Fremont, California, is not allowed to operate regularly.

The state order announced on Thursday does not supersede the county plan, Alameda Sheriff's Office spokesman Ray Kelly told Reuters by text message.

The state plan outlined by the governor includes several requirements for reopening, such as implementing physical distancing, screening workers and training employees on limiting spread of the virus.

Musk has criticized the lockdown and has been eager to reopen the Tesla factory. Musk is also CEO of rocket and spacecraft company SpaceX.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla Inc told furloughed employees earlier this week that they will remain out of work for at least another week, postponing a plan to resume normal operations on May 4 at its San Francisco vehicle-assembly plant, according to an internal email.

"For furloughed employees, unless you are contacted by your manager about a start date, you will remain on furlough until further notice, at least for another week," the company's in-house counsel Valerie Capers Workman said in the email, which was sent to employees and seen by Reuters.

Tesla suspended production at its Fremont, California plant on March 24.

The extension comes days after health officials from San Francisco County, along with five other Bay Area counties, said they would revise "shelter-in-place" orders that are set to expire on Sunday.

The new orders will keep the restrictions in place and extend them through May, with limited easing for a small number of low-risk activities.

The company was not immediately available to a Reuter's request for comment.

The electric carmaker last month furloughed all non-essential workers and implemented salary cuts during a shutdown of its U.S. production facilities because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Reuters

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