- During a town hall meeting on Friday, May 8, Alameda County officials said that Tesla has not been given the go-ahead to resume vehicle production at its Fremont, California, plant.
- A Tesla internal email from earlier this week, published by TechCrunch, stated that the Fremont factory would resume limited operations on May 8, which is likely in violation of county shelter-in-place orders that end May 31.
- Tesla was slow to close its factory in March and only did so after meeting with the Fremont Police Department.
Alameda County (California) health officer Erica Pan said on Friday, May 8, in a live-streamed town hall meeting that Tesla was not given the go-ahead to reopen its Fremont factory. However, an internal email obtained by TechCrunch was sent to employees of the factory earlier this week informing them that the factory would be resuming limited production on Friday afternoon.
The email, which appears to have been sent on May 7, informs employees that the factory would resume limited operations with 30 percent of its normal workforce. The email may have been in reaction to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement on May 7 that some manufacturing may start on May 8.
It appears that if a county has a stricter ordinance, it can overrule the state’s own guidance. In Alameda County, manufacturing is still not allowed to proceed under the current shelter-in-place mandate, which lasts until the end of May.
During the town hall, when asked about Tesla, Pan said, “We have not given the green light.” Pan did note that the county is working with Tesla to create a safe plan to open its Fremont factory but said, “We’ve asked them to wait.”
When the shelter-in-place order was put in place in March, Tesla was slow to close its factory. Only after meeting with the Fremont Police Department and city manager did the factory shut down regular production. Since then, CEO Elon Musk has tweeted and said in a quarterly call that he believes the shelter-in-place orders are unconstitutional and “fascist.”
Whether or not Tesla has actually reopened the plant as of Friday afternoon is not yet clear. We’ve reached out to the automaker for comment, as well as to Alameda County officials, and will update this story when we have updated information.