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Tesla tells employees Fremont factory got approval to restart this week

Tesla is telling employees that its Fremont factory has received approval to resume operations this week.

The factory’s health and safety plan was approved by Alameda County’s interim health officer after authorities toured the facility last week, according to a letter from Laurie Shelby, Tesla’s vice president for environmental, health and safety.

“We have local support to get back to full production at the factory starting this upcoming week,” Shelby said in the letter obtained by The Chronicle. “We’re excited to continue to get back to work.”

Alameda’s current shelter-in-place orders do not allow factories, warehouses or manufacturing plants to operate, but an agreement with Tesla could resolve a publicized and contentious back-and-forth with Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Earlier this month, Musk had threatened to move the company’s headquarters — which are in Palo Alto — out of California, and Tesla sued Alameda County. The Fremont plant employs about 11,000 people.

Alameda County officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But last week, health officials said they would allow Tesla to reopen this week if it meets certain safety requirements, after the company provided a plan for the Fremont site.

The company letter tells employees to perform self-health checks before reporting to work, and to stay home if they are sick.

Tesla did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The company had previously restarted operations, with Musk saying on Twitter last Monday that “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”

The county told Tesla to stop.

President Trump tweeted last week that Tesla should be able to reopen its plant.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also weighed in last week, saying that conversations were ongoing between Tesla and the county, but “my belief and hope and expectation is as early as next week they will be able to resume.”

Rusty Simmons is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Rusty_SFChron

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