San Francisco County Health Department announced that Tesla Inc “must not reopen” its Vehicle Factory located in the San Francisco Bay area in Alameda county area. This comes days after Tesla’s Chief Executive Officer, Elon Musk cheered about restarting the factory in Fremont, Friday afternoon following California Governor Gavin Newsom’s orders that allowed manufacturers in a few areas of the state to resume functioning.
But Newsom also mentioned that local authorities could be more stringent than the state. This includes Alameda, where health orders that extend through the end of May, were to remain in effect. The Factory in Alameda is also Tesla’s only U.S vehicle factory.
In view of the current pandemic, the lockdown imposed locally, continues to stay in place. “We have not said that it’s appropriate to move forward” said Erica Pan, Alameda County’s Health Officer in response to Tesla on a web conference, also referring to the company as “a very hot topic.”
Musk had earlier decided (as seen in an internal email by Reuters) to resume work at the Fremont Factory with only 30% of normal headcount per shift.
In March, Tesla had defied Alameda county’s guidelines in March arguing that it came under “essential businesses.” The county’s health dismissed the argument stating how the factory could “pose a threat to the health” of the masses.
Musk has also been extremely vocal in his criticism with regards to the shutdown claiming it to be a “forced imprisonment” and “serious risk” to the country’s economy. Tesla shares have seen a surge of 96% this year. He has gone as far as labeling the lockdown “unconstitutional.” Musk also claimed that if challenged in the U.S Supreme Court the lockdown wouldn’t withhold.
Alameda county’s permission, though important, will not solely be able to allow Tesla to continue production since the suppliers in other states still won’t be operating. So it’s still uncertain how the company will keep production intact.