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Tesla is reportedly planning to restart production Friday at its plant in Fremont, California, after the state’s governor authorized manufacturing to resume following a shutdown due to the coronavirus.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk told workers in an email Thursday that “I will be on the line personally helping wherever I can,” according to 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 recent weeks, Musk has repeatedly criticized coronavirus lockdowns as violating basic tenets of American freedom.
It was not immediately clear whether Tesla would follow through on the resumption of production after Bay Area health officers reiterated in a statementthat their orders restricting non-essential manufacturing operations remain in place.
Tesla representatives did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment Friday morning.
The Fremont plant makes the company’s electric vehicles, including its most popular nameplate, the Model 3 sedan. It has been mostly shut down since late March.
Tesla HR boss Valerie Capers Workman told workers in an email that the Fremont factory would resume “limited” operations with about 30% of its typical workforce, according to CNBC.
The company’s battery plant in Reno, Nevada, has already resumed limited production.
On Thursday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the state’s auto plants can resume production on Monday.
Ford Motor, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plan to restart most of their factories beginning May 18.