Tesla asks employees to return to work before coronavirus lockdown ends

Tesla has asked some employees at its California factory to return to work before the end of a lockdown order that shut down the plant last month, according to reports.

Elon Musk’s electric-car maker told some paint and stamping operations workers to report to the Fremont, California factory on Wednesday — four days before the Bay Area’s “shelter in place” order is scheduled to end, Bloomberg News reported Saturday.

Tesla issued the order to dozens of employees — even though it’s supposed to maintain “minimum basic operations” at the plant through May 3 under the Alameda County order aimed at stopping the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Those rules are still in place, though officials are expected to update businesses by Sunday on whether the restrictions will change, Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office told CNBC.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning.

The Silicon Valley-based automaker stopped producing cars at its Fremont plant on March 23 after a standoff with local authorities over whether it was considered an essential business that could operate normally under the lockdown. Alameda County health officer Erica Pan deemed the plant a “public health risk,” according to Bloomberg News.

The company previously told employees — some of whom it has furloughed amid the shutdown — that it planned to resume production on May 4, after the lockdown measures were slated to end, Bloomberg reported.

Tesla has also halted most production at its factory in Buffalo, New York and greatly reduced the number of workers at its Nevada plant. It’s unclear whether the company has called any staff back to work at either of those facilities.

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