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Tesla, Alameda County Agree on Plan to Reopen Factory Next Week

Foreman directs a robotic factory

Engineer using tablet check and control automation robot arms machine in intelligent factory industrial on monitoring system software. Welding robotics and digital manufacturing operation.

Tesla and California’s Alameda County have resolved their disagreement over the electric car company’s desire to restore production at its facility in the county; Tesla previously sued the county over its order restricting economic activity to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The two parties have now agreed to reopen the facility as early as Monday, May 18. Alameda County stated that Tesla could take additional measures to prepare for the facility’s reopening. Tesla’s only U.S. electric vehicle factory is in Fremont, California.

The underlying lawsuit alleged that the order violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and was preempted by the larger statewide law. Tesla claimed that it should be considered critical infrastructure and permitted to operate.

Alameda County Department of Health tweeted about its decision to allow Tesla to engage in Minimal Business Operations to prepare for the reopening. The health department will work with the police department to “verify Tesla is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed-upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers.” The agency said it had additional safety recommendations for the factory, and conditioned the reopening on the successful inclusion of those changes in Tesla’s Prevention and Control Plan.

The suit came after Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated his intent to disregard the order and reopen the facility despite the restrictions. He also tweeted that Tesla was being singled out from other auto manufacturers, who were approved to resume activities.  

Meanwhile, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra stated that “conversation is going on between Tesla and the county. But at the state level, we’re ready to enforce if we find that anyone is violating the state orders issued by the governor.”

The case remains open at the time of publicaiton.

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