Tesla tells workers it awaits ‘final word’ on US plant status

Dana Hull and Josh Eidelson

Tesla Inc.’s human-resources chief told employees early Wednesday the company is awaiting “final word” on the status of operations at its sole U.S. vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, despite Alameda County officials saying that Tesla is not an essential business as defined by a recent health order.

Several workers verified receiving the email from Valerie Workman, the carmaker’s head of human resources for North America.

Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition in Washington, Monday, March 9, 2020.

Representatives for Tesla had no immediate reply when contacted for comment.

Roughly 10,000 employees work at the Fremont plant, where Tesla makes the Model S, X and Model Y. The San Francisco Bay Area has taken stringent measure to slow the spread of the coronavirus, with more than 7 million residents urged to stay at home except for exercise or quick trips to the grocery store. According to the county’s order, businesses deemed non-essential are restricted to “minimum basic operations,” which Tesla appears to be defining broadly to include assembly line production activity.