Tesla ‘not given the green light’ to reopen, says Alameda County rep

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Kuka robots work on Tesla Model X in the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.

Mason Trinca | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wanted to restart production at the company’s U.S. car plant in Fremont, California, on Friday afternoon following weeks of “minimum basic operations” required after Covid-19 health orders. But local authorities now say the company is not cleared to re-open.

Interim Health Officer for Alameda County Public Health Department Erica Pan said on an online town hall meeting on Friday that even though California had relaxed Covid-19 restrictions at the state level, that legally, “If there are local orders, whichever is stricter prevails.”

She added that currently, Alameda County — where the Fremont car factory is based — is “still a little bit stricter,” than the state in its approach to protecting public health amid an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. 

“We have not given the green light. We have been working with them looking at some of their safety plans. But no, we have not said that it is appropriate to move forward.” Pan said when asked about Tesla specifically.

Alameda County  has a shelter-in-place order effective through May 31, according to the county Public Health Department website. Pan said she expected to know more in another week or two about whether the county would be able to allow manufacturers, including Tesla, to reopen their businesses. 

A spokesperson for the Fremont Police Department told CNBC in an e-mail on Friday:

“Businesses are not required to contact the police department regarding specific plans or business operations, so we have not been in contact with Tesla.” She added, “Our legal counsel is also reaching out to gain further clarity around some of the language in the most recent FAQ document,” from the county.

CNBC reached out to Tesla, and the company’s HR leader Valerie Workman, to ask how plans for U.S. employees and vehicle production may now change. They were not immediately available to comment.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates. 

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