Tesla gets exemption from new COVID-19 health orders in California

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The California Department of Public Health has called Tesla employees “essential workers” in the state and exempted the company from new Covid-19 health orders announced by Governor Gavin Newsom this week. This designation means Tesla’s U.S. auto plant in Fremont, Calif., Can continue to operate under its earlier Covid-19 security plan.The new limited stay-at-home order affects the majority of California residents as of Saturday. It imposes a curfew, asking non-essential work and gatherings to stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

In response to a CNBC investigation into the impact of the curfew on Tesla employees, the CPHD wrote:

“The limited stay at home order does not apply to these employees because they are considered essential workers – manufacturing is listed as essential labor. To learn more, click here. Transportation equipment manufacturing products. During its operations, this sector must follow industry guidelines for manufacturing. ”

Local authorities in Alameda County, where Fremont is located, could impose additional restrictions on top of future state direction, but they have not yet done so.

A spokesperson for the Alameda County Public Health Department declined to answer questions about Tesla, but sent a press release to CNBC from November 16.

The statement notes, among other things, that Alameda County is facing an increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. The county is now in California’s “purple level”, the most restrictive level under the state’s “reopening framework”. Therefore, from November 18 at midnight, “all activities and sectors must comply with state requirements for counties at the purple level.”

The statement from the Alameda County Public Health Department also said, “As the situation evolves, we may need to further restrict activities to slow the spread of the virus. ”

Meanwhile, the California Department of Public Health stressed that it issued guidelines in July for manufacturing industries “to promote a safer, lower-risk environment for workers.” This guide has not been updated with new requirements or precautions for workers in a factory environment.

When the Covid-19 virus emerged in California earlier this year, Alameda County health officials demanded that Tesla withdraw from minimum basic operations in Fremont, while developing an acceptable workplace safety plan that would protect workers. factory workers against the novel coronavirus.

Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have defied health orders and apparently suffered no repercussions.

Nonetheless, Musk has since insulted California’s business environment.

For example, he tweeted on October 30, 2020: “I have spent more than half of my life in California and I love the state. But, frankly, I think CA has the problem of winning too long. Like a sports team with many championships, it is increasingly difficult to avoid complacency and a sense of entitlement. ”

On November 14, Musk revealed that he “probably” had a “moderate” case of Covid-19 and was showing symptoms.

The news that the Tesla plant can continue to operate under safety plans previously agreed to by county and state health officials will be a relief to some Tesla shareholders.

CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said on a third quarter earnings call that Tesla still aims to deliver 500,000 electric vehicles in 2020. Even with a new Shanghai plant online this year, that figure still poses a challenge for Musk’s auto company. In 2019, Tesla delivered around 367,500 vehicles.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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