New corona lock in California, Tesla can continue to work – still?

The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is in full swing and, like this spring, restrictions are being imposed on citizens and businesses in many places. This is also the case in California, where the main Tesla plant is located, which had to shut down to minimum operation for several weeks from April: This week, the state government issued a new limited curfew from Saturday. According to the applicable rules, Tesla and other manufacturing companies are exempt from this – but because the number of infections in the region of the Fremont plant is particularly high, stricter rules could again apply here.

Tesla boss risked arrest in May

The Corona locks in the spring hit almost all companies, but probably no one spoke out as loudly and decisively against it as Tesla CEO Elon Musk. After about six weeks of quasi-closure in Fremont, he had work there again at the end of May. In doing so, he risked police intervention and publicly asked that at least only himself be arrested if necessary. Ultimately, however, there was an agreement with the responsible authorities. Musk remained free and production at Tesla continued with a revised safety concept.

Already in the spring, Tesla was exempt from blocking orders according to the California rules, because industrial production is defined as indispensable at the state level. This is also the case with the newly imposed “Limited Stay at Home Order”, according to which all non-essential activities are prohibited between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. But at the regional level, California’s county governments can also restrict public life and economic activities. That is exactly what Alameda County, responsible for Tesla’s Fremont plant, had done in the spring without granting the desired exception.

High corona numbers in the responsible county

Will it happen again? The financial broadcaster CNBC asked the Alameda health authority and received no specific answer, but there were indications. A spokesman referred to a statement from the county in mid-November, according to which it was now classified in the highest corona warning level in the state, along with 40 others due to the high and rising number of cases. The associated restrictions so far only affect restaurants and schools. But the county also warned: “Depending on developments, we may need to limit further activities.”

Despite his own coronavirus infection, which he claims to have completely survived this week, Tesla boss Musk should still not be very inclined to accept an official restriction or even another stop of production in Fremont. When it was ordered in the spring, he threatened to leave California entirely with Tesla. At the end of October he declared that he liked it there and had been there for half his life. But like a sports team that has won too often, the state is finding it increasingly difficult not to become too complacent and pretentious.


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