Tesla to limit workers at California factory with virus lockdown order, county says

FREMONT, Calif. (Reuters) – Tesla Inc has agreed to reduce the number of active workers at its California vehicle factory, but remains in talks over other measures to comply with a regional lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, a county spokesman said on Wednesday.

“They told us they had gone form about 10,000 individual employees to about 2,500,” he said. “It sounds to me like they very well could still be making cars. We are continuing to stress to them that they must move to minimum basic operations, if they are still making cars.”

Alameda County, where the factory is based, is one of six covered by an order from regional officials to “shelter in place,” which limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential, and advises people to stay home except for the most crucial reasons.

The county sheriff’s office said on Tuesday afternoon Tesla was not considered an essential business under that order and cannot continue to operate its factory normally.

Tesla can only maintain minimum basic operations under the order, the sheriff’s office said. Those include maintaining the value of inventory, ensuring security and processing payroll and employee benefits.

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