- Alameda County and Tesla seem to have come to an agreement that would allow for production to begin a the Fremont factory as early as May 18.
- The county states it has worked with Tesla to add additional safety recommendations to its reopening plan.
- The Fremont Police Department will be tasked with making sure Tesla follows safety guidelines.
The Tesla vs. Alameda County dustup may have come to a conclusion last night. The county issued a statement stating that it is working with the electric-vehicle maker on a plan to reopen the factory for production as early as May 18. The date sounds familiar because it was the timetable that, according to Alameda County supervisor Scott Haggerty, was on the table before this entire situation became a public feud.
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The latest statement from Alameda County reads:
“We reviewed the plan and held productive discussions today with Tesla’s representatives about their safety and prevention plans, including some additional safety recommendations. 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.”
Minimum business operation was the status of the Fremont factory ahead of its starting vehicle production this past weekend. The current situation began when Tesla emailed employees informing them that the Fremont factory would reopen on May 8 in violation of the local shelter-in-place order.
Over the weekend, the facility began vehicle production, and on Monday, May 11, CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter: “If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.” During the past week, Musk also said he was moving Tesla’s HQ out of California and announced that Tesla was filing suit against the county.
The county responded by sending a letter telling Tesla to halt production and posting a statement, “We have notified Tesla that they can only maintain Minimum Basic Operations until we have an approved plan that can be implemented in accordance with the local public health order.”
There seems to be an agreement now, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the additional safety recommendations and how many employees will be allowed in the factory at once. Tesla did post a Return to Work playbook on May 9 that lays out its safety plan. It’s unknown how this document will change based on new recommendations from the county.
The Alameda County statement does indicate that it’s working with the local police department to verify that Tesla is adhering to safety guidelines. It’s not clear if that means the police will visit the factory periodically or only on opening day, or how complaints from workers will be handled.