Tesla ordered to keep main US plant closed due to coronavirus

Tesla ordered to keep main US plant closed (2)
Alameda County authorities say opening the plant could lead to a spike in virus cases. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: As California grapples with a coronavirus outbreak, electric car firm Tesla has been ordered to keep its main plant in the US closed.

Elon Musk, the chief executive of the company, had told staff “limited” production would resume on Friday at the Fremont factory, near San Francisco, CNBC reports.

But Alamdea County says the decision could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases.

At least 342 virus-related deaths have been reported in the San Fransisco Bay Area, along with nearly 9,500 cases.

Since 23 March, all but “basic operations” have been suspended at the plant because of “shelter in place” orders enacted in the county.

More than 10,000 workers are employed in the factory, and makes about 415,000 vehicles every year.

This week, California government has eased some restrictions around the state, which allows businesses to resume operations. But several Bay Area counties, including Alameda, have issued their own criteria according to which businesses may reopen, which take precedence.

Alameda County said in a statement: “Tesla has been informed that they do not meet those criteria and must not reopen.”

“We welcome Tesla’s proactive work on a reopening plan, so that once they fit the criteria to reopen, they can do so in a way that protects their employees and the community at large.”

Tesla did not make any comment on this yet.

Elon Musk has recently created controversy for his opposition to coronavirus restrictions, and his promotion of unproven treatments for the virus.

The tech billionaire tweeted “the coronavirus panic is dumb” and “FREE AMERICA NOW”.

According to Bloomberg, the electric car giant has suspended operations at its plant in the Chinese city of Shanghai. Tesla had previously closed the factory as a temporary measure when the virus was at its peak in China.

In the first three month of this year, the company reported a net profit, and its stock has risen to nearly $820 (£669; €756). Analysts expect the coronavirus pandemic will adversely affect its earnings in 2020.

Earlier in April, the company announced that it will reduce staff pay and put non-essential workers on furlough while production of its vehicles is stopped due to coronavirus.

In a letter to staff, the company said it hoped to resume operations on 4 May, “barring any significant changes”.

Most remaining workers will face a pay cut of 10%, while director pay will be cut by 20% and vice-presidents and above will lose 30% of their salary.