ELECTRIC car maker Tesla is reportedly gearing to restart some car production at its Californian car plant — potentially in violation of coronavirus lockdown rules.
Some staff are said to have returned to the factory to prepare for a planned reopening of some production lines between now and next week, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Tesla suspended production at its Fremont plant on March 24.
Founder Elon Musk has previously slammed the sweeping US stay-at-home restrictions to curtail the coronavirus outbreak as "fascist" and called for the government to "give people back their goddamn freedom" and not to put them "under de facto arrest".
But the Chronicle said they were contacted by a source familiar with factory operations who asked not to be named, claiming the plant was gearing up to restart production
The person told them only a handful of workers have returned to the factory floor for now to prepare for a reopening which included extra safety measures against coronavirus transmission.
The Sun Online has reached out to Tesla for a comment and is awaiting a response.
After being informed of the plans to reopen, Fremont Police Department spokeswoman Geneva Bosques said: “We’re all sort of in a little bit of a gray area.”
She referred to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement this week that some stores, factories and logistics businesses would soon be allowed to reopen.
But this is only on a limited basis if they take safety measures and local authorities approve of what they’ve done.
Ms Bosques acknowledged that under the current Alameda County health order, Tesla cannot operate its manufacturing line.
But she added that “having a small team of people in there (who) are social distancing may not violate the health order”.
Fremont Police Department made two previous visits to the factory in April andTesla was not cited for any violations.
Last Friday Tesla Inc told furloughed employees hey will remain out of work for at least another week, postponing a plan to resume normal operations on May 4, according to an internal email.
Many were pictured apparently disregarding social distancing rules that health experts insist are critical to saving lives amid the deadly outbreak.
The president last week voiced his support for the protesters, calling them "very responsible people".