Tesla factory workers exempt from California's new virus curfew

Tesla factory workers in California will be exempt from new coronavirus restrictions taking effect Saturday in the state because they are considered essential, after CEO Elon Musk feuded with authorities over an earlier shutdown.

"The limited stay-at-home order does not apply to employees deemed essential workers—manufacturing is listed as an essential workforce," said California's Department of Public Health, specifying in particular transport products and equipment.

The exemption will allow Tesla's auto assembly plant to avoid a new curfew across much of California while continuing to abide by a already in place.

The 10:00 pm to 5:00 am stay-at-home order, apart from essential activities, will take effect Saturday evening and remain in force through December 21.

Some 94 percent of the population is affected by the curfew, including residents of Alameda, where the electric car manufacturer's plant is located.

In May, Musk feuded with authorities over the reopening of the California plant and threatened to move his headquarters and future projects to Texas or Nevada.

He at one point announced the restart of production on Twitter and challenged authorities to stop him.

Last month, Tesla said profits in the previous quarter more than doubled as the electric car giant forecast deliveries hitting 500,000 this year.

COVID-19 infections have spiked nationwide in the United States, prompting a number of states to take measures to try to slow its spread.

US case numbers surpassed 12 million on Saturday.

© 2020 AFP

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