Business Insider/Samantha Lee
Local health officials on Tuesday said Tesla could begin to increase its activities at its Fremont, California, factory this week and might be able to restart some operations as soon as Monday if proper safety measures were in place and properly enforced.
In a statement shared on Twitter on Tuesday, the Alameda County Public Health Department said it had reviewed Tesla’s COVID-19 prevention and control plan for its Fremont factory.
Tesla has faced backlash for restarting its production in defiance of local orders. The company had filed a lawsuit against Alameda County on Saturday, arguing it should be considered essential.
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Local health officials on Tuesday evening said Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory could begin to increase its activities this week and might be able to restart some operations as soon as Monday if proper safety measures were in place and properly enforced.
In a statement shared on Twitter on Tuesday, the Alameda County Public Health Department said it had reviewed Tesla’s COVID-19 prevention and control plan for its Fremont factory “as anticipated” as part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s guidance for reopening California’s manufacturing businesses.
“We reviewed the plan and held productive discussions today with Tesla’s representatives about their safety and prevention plans, including some additional safety recommendations,” the department said in its statement. “If Tesla’s Prevention and Control Plan includes these updates, and the public health indicators remain stable or improve, we have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week.”
“Next Monday, May 18th, marks two weeks following the May 4th Order loosening restrictions,” the statement added. “Provided that the data show progress with our COVID-19 indicators, during this two week period, we would allow additional approved activities for local businesses, including Tesla, as previously planned.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been sparring with local health officials over the opening of the factory, and Tesla faced backlash for restarting its production in defiance of local orders. The company filed a lawsuit against Alameda County on Saturday, arguing it should be considered essential.
Alameda County introduced shelter-in-place restrictions in March that forced the California factory to shut down its operations. Musk has been critical of these measures, meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, calling them “fascist” and saying they are “fundamentally a violation of the Constitution.”
Under current California guidelines, only businesses deemed essential are allowed to operate, though Newsom allowed some retail and manufacturing businesses to open last Friday.
In a tweet Tuesday, President Donald Trump supported Musk’s insistence that the factory should be allowed to reopen.
“California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW,” Trump tweeted. “It can be done Fast & Safely!”
Musk acknowledged the risk of reopening against local directives on Tuesday, tweeting that “if anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”
Internal company emails seen by The Verge on Tuesday indicate that Tesla will soon fully reopen its Gigafactory in Nevada, where it produces batteries for its electric cars.
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