Tesla under pressure as County Sheriff defines factory as ‘non essential business’ amid C-19 outbreak

A snapshot from a drone flyover of the Tesla Fremont factory on June 29, 2018. [Credit: DarkSoldier 360/YouTube]

Just a day after an Alameda County spokesperson declared in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that Tesla is an “essential business” and thus allowed to remain in operation amid the C-19 outbreak, the county’s Sheriff’s Office has taken an opposing stance. In a recent update on Twitter, the Alameda County Sheriff declared that Tesla is not an essential business at all and that the company will only be allowed to maintain minimum basic operations. 

“Tesla: Tesla is not an essential business as defined in the Alameda County Health Order. Tesla can maintain minimum basic operations per the Alameda County Health Order,” the county sheriff tweeted. 

Notes from the Alameda County Health Order define “minimum basic operations” as a company strictly complying with Social Distancing Requirements for those who are still reporting to work. Activities that would still be allowed include those that “maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll, and employee benefits, or for related functions.” Companies must also provide workers the option to continue their employment remotely

With these in mind, Tesla’s Fremont factory would not be allowed to continue making electric cars, at least until the “minimum basic operations” rule is lifted. This could come as a blow to Tesla, considering that the company is prone to engaging in widespread end-of-quarter production and delivery efforts to optimize its quarterly numbers. It should be noted that the adverse effects of the C-19 shutdowns are not and will not be limited to Tesla alone. 

Automakers such as Volkswagen and Daimler in Europe have closed down their production facilities for at least two weeks. That being said, the Detroit 3 will remain operational for now, despite confirmed coronavirus cases among their employees. Amidst reports that a worker from Warren GM, Dearborn Ford, and the Fiat-Chrysler Kokomo Transmission Plant in Indiana have been tested positive for the C-19 virus, the Detroit 3 have decided to implement safety measures instead while keeping production activities ongoing. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the UAW stated that the three automakers would be implementing a “rotating partial shutdown of facilities, extensive deep cleaning of facility and equipment between shifts, extended periods between shifts and extensive plans to avoid member contact.” 

That said, UAW President Rory Gamblet has noted in a statement to Automotive News that the union asked for a pre-emptive two-week shutdown based on the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines. Unfortunately, Gamblet said that the automakers “were not willing to implement this request” and asked for 48 hours to come up with a concrete plan of action. 

Tesla under pressure as County Sheriff defines factory as ‘non essential business’ amid C-19 outbreak
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