Tesla is expected to resume operations at its Fremont factory in Northern California as early as today, following an announcement by state Governor Gavin Newsom that “lower risk industries” will be able to resume work activities. Multiple emails sent by Tesla executives on Thursday evening, including CEO Elon Musk, outlined the company’s plans to reopen the production lines on Friday, May 8.
“In light of Governor Newsom’s statement earlier today approving manufacturing in California, we will aim to restart production in Fremont tomorrow afternoon. I will be on the line personally helping wherever I can,” Musk wrote in an email obtained by CNBC. “However, if you feel uncomfortable coming back to work at this time, please do not feel obligated to do so. These are difficult times, so thanks very much for working hard to make Tesla successful!”
In another company email from Tesla’s Head of Human Resources, Valerie Capers Workman, it seems Tesla plans to resume “limited operations” by allowing 30% of the regular employees on a shift to come in for work, according to CNBC.
Governor Newsom announced the lift on Thursday evening, stating that clothing stores, bookstores, florists, sporting goods stores, as well as manufacturing and logistics operations, could resume their routine work.
The news came to the approval of Musk, who has been a vocal proponent of lifting Stay-at-Home bans. Musk called for the orders to be raised during Tesla’s Q1 2020 Earnings Call on April 29 and has pushed for leniency on the prohibitions.
Musk also opened up in broader detail about his discontent for the Stay-at-Home orders on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. The Tesla CEO cited he was still skeptical about the severity of the illness, and believed there needed to be more accurate data concerning the number of people infected.
While Musk has been critical of the panic that the virus has incited, he has done his part to help by donating ventilators to over 50 hospitals that are located in Tesla’s delivery areas.
It appears that Tesla’s Fremont facility may receive the hypothetical “ok” to reopen. After the company seemed to have a preliminary timeline to open Fremont on May 4, the plans were derailed after Alameda County health officers had decided that Stay-at-Home needed revisions.
Many expected the restrictions on free travel to end in June. However, it seems that Newsome and other political members have decided that it is safe to begin reopening some portions of the California workforce. The facilities that the State of California is choosing to open seem to be low risk as there is little face-to-face interaction other than brief transaction periods that would take place at retail locations.
Still, retailers must “increase pick up and delivery and encourage physical distancing during pickup and install hands-free devices.” Manufacturers are to close breakrooms and create outdoor break areas with seating designed to promote social distancing measures. Warehouses are encouraged to carry sanitation materials during deliveries and use protective equipment during every stop.
Tesla employs roughly 20,000 people in Northern California’s Bay Area. Half of the 20,000 work at the Fremont facility, and Elon Musk seems to be eager to get them back to work. With the company halting production lines since Fremont’s closing on March 23, there is plenty of work to be done, including the ramping up of the Model Y, the company’s newest vehicle.