Elon Musk told Tesla employees in a leaked email that they don't have to go to work if they're sick or concerned about the coronavirus

elon musk

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk told employees in an email that they don't have to come to work if they're sick or concerned about the coronavirus.
  • Musk said that, to his knowledge, no Tesla employees have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
  • He also cautioned Tesla employees to be mindful about both large and small gatherings.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Monday in an email to the electric-car maker's employees that they don't have to work if they're sick or concerned about the coronavirus. Business Insider viewed photos of the email.

"I'd like to be super clear that if you feel the slightest bit ill or even uncomfortable, please do not feel obligated to come to work," Musk said. "I will personally be at work, but that's just me. Totally ok if you want to stay home for any reason."
Musk said he is not aware of any Tesla employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, but will alert the company if that changes. Later in the email, Musk said he believed the public's fear about the coronavirus could backfire by potentially diverting too many resources away from some with pressing medical needs.

"My frank opinion remains that the harm from the coronavirus panic far exceeds that of the virus itself," he said. "If there is a massive redirection of medical resources out of proportion to the danger, it will result in less available care to those with critical medical needs, which does not serve the greater good."

But Musk overall took a more serious tone toward the coronavirus than he did in an email sent last week to employees of SpaceX, where he also serves as CEO, cautioning Tesla employees to be alert to the dangers of both large and small gatherings.

"Much is made of public gatherings, but please be cautious of family gatherings too," he said. "What is relatively harmless to a child can be dangerous to grandparents."

Musk also highlighted the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calling it "great" and saying its measurement of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US is "worth watching closely."Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this year, the coronavirus forced Tesla to briefly close its factory in Shanghai and its stores throughout mainland China. The virus has also disrupted Tesla's supply chain, leading the electric-car maker to install old hardware for Autopilot, its advanced driver-assistance system, in China-made Model 3s. Tesla warned in its most recent annual report that a health epidemic like the coronavirus could have a negative financial impact on the company.

The coronavirus has infected over 182,000 people and killed over 7,000. The vast majority of confirmed cases have been in China, though the coronavirus has been found in over 145 countries. There have been more than 4,600 confirmed cases in the US, and 87 reported deaths.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Are you a current or former Tesla employee? Do you have an opinion about what it's like to work there? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com. You can also reach out on Signal at 646-768-4712 or email this reporter's encrypted address at mmatousek@protonmail.com.

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