Tesla defies COVID-19 quarantine, asks employees to return to work

Tesla defies COVID-19 quarantine, asks employees to return to work

On Sunday, Tesla asked its employees at the company’s Fremont, California car plant to report back to work on Wednesday, April 29.

This comes at the heels of a statement from the mayor of San Francisco that the stay-at-home order was likely to go beyond May 3.

The company is asking for at least some of its employees to report back to work this coming Wednesday.

According to Reuter, Tesla supervisors reached out to some of the staff and asked for a headcount of those interested in reporting back to work in full shifts.

Local authorities have previously advised Tesla to maintain only minimum basic operations up until the end of the quarantine period.

A non-essential business

This isn’t the first time Tesla went against government protocols. Back when quarantine was first implemented, the company flouted lockdown orders and kept the plant running.

The local government had classified Tesla as a non-essential business, but the company’s leadership felt that it should have been classified as an essential service provider.

On the part of its CEO, Elon Musk expressed questionable views on the coronavirus, calling the public panic as “dumb” and potentially more dangerous than the virus itself.

The virus has taken 208,862 lives as of this writing, based on Worldometer.

Tesla as non-essential business

Suspension and furloughs

The company eventually acceded to the government and suspended operations on April 10. It also started restructuring and assessing key positions within its employees, allowing those who can work from home to do so, while furloughing the others, which started on April 13.

The company also instituted pay cuts on all levels across the workforce. As part of its coronavirus response, Tesla also started using its production line to rig processors for ventilators, with an eventual goal to develop Tesla-designed ventilators.

Cautious and tepid response

The call for employees to return to work comes just before Tesla releases its first-quarter earnings report on April 29. However, the response to the call to arms was tepid at best.

Per CNBC, furloughed employees are worried that the working conditions in the Tesla factory might not be up to par with coronavirus safety protocols as required by the state.

The long commute involved with going to work, as a majority of the plant’s employees live out of the county, also poses a health concern to the employees.

Tesla originally planned to observe San Francisco safety protocols and resume work on May 4. The reasons for the early resumption of work is unclear at this time.

Image courtesy of Blomst/Pixabay, Tesla / Twitter

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