Tesla is reportedly preparing to restart operations at its California factory in possible violation of local shelter-in-place orders

Elon Musk Tesla frown

  • Tesla is preparing to resume some manufacturing operations at its plant in Fremont, California, despite coronavirus lockdowns closing non-essential businesses, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
  • Some workers returned to the factory on Wednesday to get the plant ready to reopen in the coming days, according to the Chronicle.
  • Lockdowns are still in place in California and the Bay Area, and while some basic operations are allowed, car manufacturing is not, according to a spokesperson for the Fremont Police Department.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk has become increasingly vocal in his opposition to coronavirus lockdowns, calling them “fascist” during a call with investors last week.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tesla is planning to resume some manufacturing operations in the coming days at its plant in Fremont, California, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

A handful of workers returned to the company’s Bay Area factory Wednesday to begin preparations to reopen with additional safety precautions in place, according to the Chronicle.

However, if it resumes making cars, Tesla would be in violation of local public health orders that currently only allow only non-essential businesses or business operations in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that some retail businesses and the manufacturers who supply them would be allowed to reopen at the end of the week, but he also said county and local governments could decide to maintain stricter rules.

Several Bay Area counties, including Alameda, where Tesla’s factory is located, have a shelter-in-place order through the end of May, and have not yet agreed to the types of reopenings specified by the governor.

“Right now, the same health order is in place so nothing has changed,” said Fremont Police Department spokeswoman Geneva Bosques. “Operating the assembly line was determined early on to be a violation.”

The order allows some flexibility for non-essential businesses like Tesla to keep staff working on “minimum basic operations” like maintenance, safety, and security, and Bosques said she wasn’t surprised to hear about the company preparing for wider reopenings. 

Tesla has been especially eager to continue its operations even in the face of public health guidance, attempting to remain open on multiple occasions before being forced to reverse directions.

CEO Elon Musk has gone on multiple rants in the past week alone, both on social media and in a call with investors, to voice his frustration with the coronavirus lockdowns.

“Frankly, I would call it forcible imprisoning of people in their homes against all of, their constitutional rights, in my opinion,” Musk told investors. “It’s breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why they came to America or built this country. What the f—. Excuse me. Outrage. Outrage.”

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

SEE ALSO: New York Gov. Cuomo just tapped former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to help invent a more tech-focused future for the state post-pandemic

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