Local health authorities say Tesla can begin to restart factory operations on May 18 if proper safety plans are in place

Local health authorities say Tesla can begin to restart factory operations on May 18 if proper safety plans are in place
Business Insider/Samantha Lee
  • Local health officials announced on Tuesday that Tesla can begin to increase its activities at its Fremont, California, factory this week and may be able to restart some operations from May 18 if proper safety measures are in place and are properly enforced.
  • In a statement shared on Twitter on Tuesday, the Alameda County Public Health Department said it had reviewed Tesla's COVID-19 prevention and control plan for its Fremont factory.
  • Tesla has faced backlash for restarting its production in defiance of local orders. The company had filed a lawsuit against Alameda County on Saturday, arguing it should be considered essential.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Local health officials announced on Tuesday evening that Tesla's Fremont, California factory can begin to increase its activities this week and may be able to restart some operations from May 18 if proper safety measures are in place and are properly enforced.

In a statement shared on Twitter on Tuesday, the Alameda County Public Health Department said it had reviewed Tesla's COVID-19 prevention and control plan for its Fremont factory "as anticipated" as part of California Gov. Gavin Newsom's guidance for reopening the state's manufacturing businesses.

"We reviewed the plan and held productive discussions today with Tesla's representatives about their safety and prevention plans, including some additional safety recommendations," the department said in its statement. "If Tesla's Prevention and Control Plan includes these updates, and the public health indicators remain stable or improve, we have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week."
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"Next Monday, May 18th, marks two weeks following the May 4th Order loosening restrictions," the statement added. "Provided that the data show progress with our COVID-19 indicators, during this two week period, we would allow additional approved activities for local businesses, including Tesla, as previously planned."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been sparring with local health officials over the opening of the factory, and Tesla faced backlash for restarting its production in defiance of local orders. The company filed a lawsuit against Alameda County on Saturday, arguing it should be considered essential.

Alameda County introduced shelter-in-place restrictions in March, which forced the California factory to shut down its operations. Musk has been critical of these measures, meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, calling them "fascist" and saying they are "fundamentally a violation of the Constitution."
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Under current California guidelines, only essential businesses are allowed to operate, though Newsom allowed some retail and manufacturing businesses to open last Friday.

President Donald Trump supported Musk's insistence that the factory should be allowed to reopen in a tweet on Tuesday. "California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW," Trump tweeted. "It can be done Fast & Safely!"
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Musk acknowledged the risk of reopening against local directives on Tuesday, tweeting that "if anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me."

Internal emails seen by The Verge on Tuesday indicate that Tesla is fully reopening its Gigafactory in Nevada, where it produces batteries for its electric cars.

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