Tesla can reopen its sole U.S. vehicle factory in California as soon as next week, so long as the electric carmaker adopts extra safety recommendations amid the coronavirus pandemic, local officials said.
The Alameda County Health Department released a statement late Tuesday announcing that the plant in Fremont, some 40 miles southeast of San Francisco, will be allowed to go beyond basic operations this week and start manufacturing vehicles on Monday if Tesla holds up its part of the agreement.
“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 health department said in the 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.”
The Alameda County Health Department noted that it will be working with the Fremont Police Department to verify whether Tesla “is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers as they prepare for full production.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter earlier this week that he was restarting production at the Fremont factory in defiance of the county’s ordinance. Operations at the plant apparently continued into Tuesday, although the company met a Monday deadline to submit a site-specific plan for worker safety.
“I will be on the line with everyone else,” Musk tweeted. “If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”
It’s unclear whether Tesla would face any punishment for the reopening.