Time is money, and Tesla can't afford to lose any time building Model Y utility vehicles.
Tesla is continuing to churn out new cars from its Fremont, California production facility despite a Bay Area "shelter in place" policy that's supposed to keep non-essential workers at home, electrek reports. The policy affects a total of six counties in the Bay Area, and it's aimed at encouraging "social distancing" practices to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus that's swept the globe.
But Tesla managed to get an exemption from the policy, meaning that its Fremont, California factory will continue to produce Tesla Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y vehicles while most of the area is under lock down.
Tesla was prompted to shutter its Shanghai Gigafactory in China last month, near the epicenter of the COVID pandemic, amidst fears of the virus's spread. That facility, Tesla's only other vehicle assembly plant, resumed production after the company took action to limit the possibility for the virus to spread there.
But Tesla management aren't completely unconcerned with the possibility of COVID-19 spreading at the Fremont plant, and the company has told employees to stay home if they are feeling ill. That said, Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears to feel that fears over the novel coronavirus are a bit excessive, earlier in the month tweeting "The coronavirus panic is dumb".
Businesses have been hit hard by the "social distancing" policies being enforced around much of the globe, as leaders enforce emergency measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 by keeping people indoors as much as possible, mandating the closure of schools, restaurants, gyms, and countless other workplaces. Some North American auto workers are walking out amidst fears of the pandemic spreading, while automakers like Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen have had to shutter plants in hard-hit areas.
But for Tesla, which finds itself at a crucial moment having just started production of the new Model Y crossover, it's essential to keep the assembly lines moving - even despite the global panic.