According to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Tesla will have to close its factory in Fremont in the wake of the quarantine implemented in the San Francisco Bay Area to fight the coronavirus. Tesla will be allowed to maintain basic minimum operations at the plant, but this does not include automobile construction.
Until now, the Fremont factory has continued to operate normally despite the pandemic, becoming the only operating factory on the West Coast of the United States. Tesla initially told its employees that if they felt sick or uncomfortable, they could stay home, but that they were expected to continue working otherwise.
Elon Musk himself has stated that he is more concerned with panic over the virus than with the virus itself. Today, Tesla has sent a notice to its employees saying that the company is “critical national infrastructure” and that it was exempt from any closure orders, urging workers in sections such as production and deliveries to continue their work. According to the company, he had been in contact with the State, the County, and the city of Fremont to make this decision.
However, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has contradicted the company: “Tesla is not an essential business as defined in the Alameda County Health Order. Tesla can only keep its basic operations minimal under the Alameda County Health Order.” This means that Tesla cannot, in effect, continue to build cars at the Fremont factory.