Tesla is keeping its Northern California factory operational despite a shelter-in-place order from the local government to address the coronavirus outbreak.
While only a quarter of employees are reporting to work at a Tesla factory in Fremont, California, the automobile company is keeping it operational despite a shelter-in-place order to stop the coronavirus outbreak.
In a tweet on Wednesday morning, the Alameda County Sheriff’s office criticized Tesla for not complying with a shelter-in-place order that took effect this week. It stated: “Tesla is not an essential business as defined in the Alameda County Health Order.”
The local sheriff’s office pointed out that the company can continue “minimum basic operations” but should halt all other activity.
Under the shelter-in-place order, only roles required for essential businesses to maintain “basic operations,” including security, payroll and similar activities, are exempt.
While Tesla declined to comment, it sent an email to its employees saying it has received “conflicting guidance from different levels of government” about how it should respond to the shelter-in-place order.
The email claimed: “We still do not have a final word from the city, county, state and federal government on the status of our operations.”
However, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Ray Kelly said said they have discussed the matter with Tesla and explained that employees were permitted to go to work for tasks such as payroll, but it should not attempt to keep assembly lines running.
Kelly argued: “They are still producing cars, and that is a not an essential function of business.”
Unlike Tesla, other automobile firms, such as Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, have all announced that they would temporarily close down production amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
Tesla chief executive officer (CEO) Elon Musk has received criticism over his take on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He tweeted on March 6 that the “panic” surrounding the virus was “dumb.”