After it reopened in defiance of health department orders last May, Tesla’s plant in Fremont, California saw 450 cases of COVID-19 through December 2020, new data from legal website PlainSite shows (via The Washington Post).
Last March public health officials in Alameda County, where the Fremont plant is located, restricted all but “essential” businesses from remaining open as coronavirus cases surged across the country. Tesla fought the order but eventually shut down the plant on March 23rd. But a few days later, Tesla restarted production at the Fremont plant, even though it was in violation of the public health order. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter at the time that he planned to be on the factory floor with Fremont workers and taunted local officials to arrest him.
Tesla’s reopening plan was later approved, even though it was already open in defiance of the March orders. Musk, a vocal critic of last year’s coronavirus shelter-in-place orders, threatened to move the Fremont factory out of California. Tesla filed a lawsuit against Alameda County over the shutdown order on May 9th of last year, but dropped the suit less than two weeks later.
The Post reports that the documents obtained by PlainSite show Tesla had around a dozen reports of COVID-19 cases in May 2020 and the numbers continued to rise through December, a month that saw 125 new cases of the virus at the plant. Tesla employs about 10,000 people at the Fremont facility.