The stand-off between Tesla and Alameda County over the reopening of the Fremont electric car plant appears to be cooling down. Alameda County public health officials said on Tuesday that if local health indicators continue to show covid-19 cases are stabilizing or improving, the Tesla plant will be allowed to reopen as early as next week.
County health officials, along with Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who represents Fremont, have been in talks with Tesla officials to come to an agreement for protocols that will promote a safe work environment for employees.
“We reviewed the plan and held productive discussions today with Tesla’s representatives about their safety and prevention plans, including some additional safety recommendations,” said a statement Tuesday from the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency.
“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.”
This latest development comes days after Tesla founder Elon Musk attempted to reopen the Fremont plant last Friday. But Dr. Erica Pan, the Alameda County interim public health officer, reiterated that the county’s more stringent shelter in place order would remain in place despite allowances by Gov. Gavin Newsom early last week that counties could begin loosening the state’s orders.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Musk called Pan “unelected and ignorant.” Musk also sought an injunction in Alameda County Superior Court over the weekend to allow the plant to resume work. The bid to reopen the Tesla plant also won plaudits from President Trump, who later tweeted his support.
Yet, despite the county’s refusal, Tesla workers returned to work on Monday in full force. Several reports describing a packed employee parking lot.