Tesla may be about to put some of its Fremont, Calif., production facility employees back to work, even though the electric carmaker remains under a shelter-in-place order across the Bay Area that is meant to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Tesla has reportedly notified workers in its paint and stamping operations of the company’s plans to begin operations on Wednesday. Over the weekend, Bloomberg reported that it had seen emails from Tesla telling employees of its plans.
Area officials on Monday said the current shelter-in-place order, which had been set to end on May 3, will be extended until the end of May. Details about the extended order will be made public later this week.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said Monday that the county health officer has not yet decided if there will be any addendum to the shelter-in-place order, which would affect whether Tesla is allowed to resume operations. Kelly expects meetings on the subject to be held on Monday, and through the rest of the week.
Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla employs about 10,000 people in Fremont, where it builds its Model 3, Model X, Model S, and its new Model Y vehicles.
The company suspended vehicle production in Fremont on March 23 after several days of back-and-forth with Alameda County officials over whether Tesla’s operations qualified as an essential business under the multi-county shelter-in-place order that went into effect on March 16. Tesla was allowed to maintain a minimum level of services at the Fremont plant, including payroll processing, the securing of product inventory and infrastructure maintenance.
“It appears (Tesla Chief Executive) Musk and Co. are getting the Fremont factory ready to roll next week once the stay at home order presumptively ends, which would be a major win for Tesla and it’s investors,” said Dan Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities.
Investors liked the reports that Tesla might soon have its Fremont plant up and running, as Tesla shares rose more than 8% Monday, to $785.67. Tesla is scheduled to report it first-quarter business results after U.S. stock markets close on Wednesday.
As the shelter-in-place order has been in effect for more than a month, calls have been growing among citizens, and some politicians, to begin relaxing the restrictions and re-open some businesses amid widespread layoffs around the Bay Area and the country.
On Monday, San Jose-based communications technology company Broadcom was scheduled to begin bringing its employees back to work on a rotating basis in which no more than 25% of staff would be on site during a given week.
(Bay Area News Group reporter David DeBolt contributed to this report.)
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