Tesla’s situation at the Fremont facility has been clarified by Alameda County health officials, who published their response to questions they have received from the media. The updated information from the county was posted in a press release that was published on Wednesday night.
Tensions between Tesla and Alameda County came to a head recently after the company was set to reopen at with “limited operations” last Friday under conditions that were mandated by California Governor Gavin Newsom. However, Alameda County health officials prohibited Tesla from reopening its Fremont plant on May 8.
Under the leadership of CEO Elon Musk, Tesla reopened the Fremont factory on Sunday, May 10, against the wishes of county health officials. Media members asked several questions about why Tesla had not been penalized for not listening to instructions. This was explored in one of the inquiries asked by members of the media.
On Monday, Elon Musk tweeted that “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.” Given that the CEO acknowledges that production has restarted against the county health order’s guidelines, why does your statement indicate that there may be a “possible reopening next week”?
Alameda County officials responded to this inquiry by clarifying that Tesla is operating above basic minimum operations due to the nature of the auto industry, which requires a lead-up period before production facilities could return to normal operations.
“We have met with Tesla representatives and have confirmed that Tesla is not engaged in full operations, contrary to media reports. Tesla has confirmed that its operations require a substantial lead time to become fully operational, and their current operations are only slightly above Minimum Business Operations. The City of Fremont Police Department – which had done multiple site-visits at the plant over multiple years, and which has knowledge of what Tesla’s normal operations look like – will conduct a site visit today to confirm Tesla’s claims.
“Given the unique nature and scale of automobile manufacturing and the safety measures agreed to by Tesla, we concluded that ramp up activity with a minimal increase in minimum basic operations can occur safely.”
Earlier reports indicated that Tesla’s employee parking lots in Fremont might have been just as occupied on Sunday and Monday as it was for a typical work shift. However, Alameda County officials clarified that the facility was only operating under conditions that were slightly above minimum basic operations. This action is due to “substantial lead time to become fully operational,” the county explained.
Another question suggested that Tesla received special treatment from Alameda County. CEO Elon Musk stated earlier this week that the facility was reopened despite the county’s stance. No disciplinary action was taken by the County, and journalists wanted to know why. This was addressed in an inquiry from a member of the media.
“Given that Tesla has been given an exception, what does that do to the moral authority of the County when other businesses try to open before they’re allowed? I think the question of equal enforcement of the law is an important public policy issue.”
Alameda County officials clarified that Tesla had not received any sort of preferential treatment and that Tesla’s safety plan was clear enough to indicate that it was safe to begin production as early as next week.
“Tesla has not been given an exception. The role of the Public Health Department is to protect our residents and the individuals who come to work in Alameda County. We do that by reviewing safety plans and working with local law enforcement, who hold the authority to enforce the Health Officer Orders. We hope and expect that other businesses see the value of continuing to abide by the Health Officer Order, as it applies to them, in order to protect their workforce, our most vulnerable residents, and our health care systems in general. Because of the hard sacrifices of our local businesses, we anticipate another phase of reopening as early as next week.”
The full Press Release from Alameda County could be accessed in full below.