Back in the spring, in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a standoff with local authorities, reopening the company’s car plant in Fremont, California, in defiance of health orders. By May, after President Donald Trump weighed in on Tesla’s side, county officials backed down, allowing the plant to remain open.
Now, with California once again instituting stay-at-home orders due to resurgent coronavirus cases, another standoff has been avoided.
According to a report by CNBC, the California Department of Public Health has granted Tesla a waiver from the state’s new Limited Stay at Home Order, deeming Tesla’s employees essential workers.
“The Limited Stay at Home Order does not apply to these employees as they are deemed essential workers—manufacturing is listed as an essential workforce,” the department said off those with the essential worker designation. "The Critical Manufacturing Sector identifies several industries to serve as the core of the sector including Transportation Equipment Manufacturing Products. While operating, this sector must follow industry guidance for manufacturing.”
Tesla, meanwhile, has had a remarkable run of good financial fortune, having reported several profitable quarters in a row and finally getting added to the S&P 500. In the third quarter, the company reported revenue of $8.77 billion and a profit of $809 million. Tesla also shipped more than 139,000 vehicles in the third quarter.
The company, meanwhile, announced earlier this year that it would open its next “Gigafactory” facility near Austin, Texas. Musk had said earlier that he was eying the “Central USA” for the company’s next factory facility. The new factory is expected to build the company’s new electrically powered Cybertruck, with the Model Y car also likely to be built there.
Also this year, Tesla became the most valuable car company in the world and is currently valued at about $493 million. Its stock, as of Monday afternoon, was trading at around $519 a share. It’s not only an all-time high, but it compares to $93.81 a share as of Jan. 1, 2020.
Musk, in late October, as he often does, made some news with a tweet, responding to an account called Tesla Owners of California about the state.
“I’ve spent more than half my life in California & love the state. But, frankly, I think CA has the winning-for-too-long problem,” the CEO said. “Like a sports team with many championships, it is increasingly difficult to avoid complacency & a sense of entitlement.
In mid-November, Musk may or may not have tested positive for coronavirus himself, stating that he received contradictory results from different tests for the disease.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.