Covid-19: Tesla asked to suspend operation of California factory

Source : IANS
Author : IANS
Last Updated: Wed, Mar 18th, 2020, 13:57:30hrs

San Francisco, March 18 (IANS) San Francisco Bay Area's new coronavirus shelter-in-place order that requires all "non-essential businesses" shut down for three weeks will also impact Elon Musk-led electric carmaker Tesla's California factory, according to county officials and the local sheriff's office.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office tweeted late Tuesday that Tesla is "not an essential business as defined in the Alameda County Health Order," and said "Tesla can maintain minimum basic operations" per the order, The Verge reported.

"Minimum Basic Operations" are defined by the order as "(t)he minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business's inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions," and "(t)he minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences."

The clarification came after Tesla kept its factory open on Tuesday, the first day that the new guidance issued with an intention to contain the spread of coronavirus came in place.

Leaders of six counties in the Bay Area issued the shelter-in-place order on Monday.

The order requires people to stay at home unless they need to venture out for "essential activities" like buying food. It also asked "non-essential businesses" to shut down.

Tesla's human resources head Valerie Workman reportedly wrote an email to employees, saying Tesla could be exempted from the order to close as its operations might come under "essential business" category.

Musk earlier underplayed the coronavirus scare.

After calling coronavirus panic dumb and mind-killer on Twitter, Musk wrote an email to employees in Bay Area, saying "coronavirus panic is worse than virus itself".

"First, I'd like to be super clear that if you feel the slightest bit ill or even uncomfortable, please don't feel obligated to come to work. I will personally be at work, but that is just me. Totally ok if you want to stay home for any reason," he said in the email seen by electrek.co.

"A lot of rumours are flying around, but, to the best of our knowledge, no one at Tesla (over 56,000 people) has tested positive for COVID-19. I will inform you immediately if anything changes," he added.

--IANS

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