As the San Francisco Bay Area goes into near-lockdown mode, Tesla’s manufacturing facility in Fremont will remain open. Alameda County’s “shelter-in-place” order makes exceptions for “essential businesses,” and a county spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that Tesla falls into this category.
The Palo Alto-based automaker employs about 10,000 people, making it the ninth-largest employer in Silicon Valley.
The company is not requiring employees to come to work. “I’d like to be super clear that if you feel the slightest bit ill or even uncomfortable, please do not feel obligated to come to work,” Elon Musk wrote in an e-mail to employees (as reported by Business Insider). “I will personally be at work, but that’s just me. Totally ok if you want to stay home for any reason.”
In this case at least, Tesla is following the lead of the rest of the auto industry. Although Renault and Fiat Chrysler have closed some facilities in Europe, at this time no major automaker has announced any factory shutdowns in the US.
Meanwhile, the company has begun deliveries of the new Model Y crossover SUV. Musk and others have predicted that this could be the company’s most popular vehicle to date, and the start of deliveries is historic for another reason: it’s just about the first time that Tesla has delivered a new vehicle on its announced timeline. In fact, Model Y arrived early—as recently as Tesla’s Q3 2019 earnings call, the company was predicting that the new EV would arrive this summer.