Tesla may have to close its Fremont factory because it's a 'nonessential' business

AP Photo/Jae C. HongTesla CEO Elon Musk.
  • Tesla has been ordered to halt activity at its Fremont, California, factory except for “minimum basic operations.”
  • That’s because of a new order in California’s Alameda County requiring all nonessential businesses to close to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk had reportedly told employees the factory could stay open because it was deemed an essential business.
  • But in a tweet sent Tuesday, the Alameda County sheriff clarified Tesla was “not an essential business,” sending the firm’s stock down 3.3%.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tesla may need to halt operations at its only US factory after all.

That’s because of a Tuesday health order from California’s Alameda County forcing all nonessential businesses to effectively close shop to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

It had been thought the order wouldn’t apply to Tesla’s Fremont factory in the county. A county representative told the Los Angeles Times the firm had been deemed an “essential business.”

But in an official tweet sent Tuesday, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said Tesla was “not an essential business” under the rules. According to CNBC, Tesla’s stock fell 3.3% during trading hours.

“Tesla is not an essential business as defined in the Alameda County Health Order,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “Tesla can maintain minimum basic operations per the Alameda County Health Order.”

It’s unclear whether this means Tesla will stop producing cars at the factory, despite it being Tesla’s only US-based car-production plant.

In a leaked email viewed by Business Insider, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told employees Monday that they didn’t have to come to work if they’re sick or concerned about the novel coronavirus.

“I will personally be at work, but that’s just me. Totally OK if you want to stay home for any reason,” he added, while making it clear he was not aware of any Tesla employees testing positive for COVID-19.

Tesla and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment.

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