FREMONT, California - Tesla Inc's US vehicle factory in California on Wednesday appeared to operate normally despite an order by the county's sheriff's office to comply with a three-week lockdown in the San Francisco Bay Area to rein in the spread of coronavirus.
Thousands of cars were visible on the factory's employee parking lot and employees were going to work, Reuters witnesses saw.Several 18-wheeler container trucks were also seen pulling onto the factory grounds, according to the witnesses.
Alameda County, where the Fremont factory is based, is one of six covered by a "shelter in place" order from regional authorities that limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential, and advises people to stay home except for the most crucial reasons.
The county's sheriff's office on Tuesday afternoon said Tesla is not considered an essential business under that order and cannot continue to operate its factory normally.
Tesla can only maintain minimum basic operations under the order, the sheriff's office said. Under the county's order, those include maintaining the value of inventory, ensuring security and processing payroll and employee benefits.
The sheriff's office did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday about the factory appearing to remain fully operational.