Tesla laid out a plan for reopening factories — amid the coronavirus crisis and a spat with California officials who shut down its plant there.
The 38-page “Return to Work Playbook” Tesla published Saturday calls for a wide range of precautions to keep plants clean and prevent the virus from spreading among workers. It came as Tesla prepared to ramp up production at its Fremont car factory after a nearly two-month pause.
Tesla plans to provide some workers with protective gear such as masks and gloves, check their temperatures at certain locations, enforce social distancing and adjust shifts to reduce the number of people in an area at a given time.
The scheme — which Tesla said resulted from “months of careful planning and preparation” — also includes protocols for cleaning factories and tracking coronavirus cases among employees.
The electric-car maker released the plan the same day that it filed a lawsuit against California’s Alameda County, where officials barred the Fremont assembly lines from operating under a lockdown order aimed at curbing the virus. The federal complaint seeks a court order stopping the county from enforcing the lockdown against Tesla.
“We will continue to put people back to work in a safe and responsible manner,” Tesla wrote in a Saturday blog post. “However, the county’s position left us no choice but to take legal action to ensure that Tesla and its employees can get back to work.”
Tesla argues the county’s order conflicts with guidance from California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said manufacturers could reopen last week — as well as the federal government’s designation of automakers as “critical infrastructure.”
The company also said Alameda County’s public health officer hasn’t returned its calls or emails, even though it has met with local officials about its restart plans.
CEO Elon Musk further escalated the feud over the weekend by threatening to move the factory — which employs more than 10,000 people — to Texas or Nevada. He previously called lockdowns meant to control the coronavirus “fascist.”
Alameda County did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning. But Newsom has said his statewide guidance would not override stricter rules local governments have imposed to keep the virus in check.
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