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Tesla Moves to Reopen California Factory Despite Stay-at-Home Orders

Tesla asks workers to be ready to clock in again, despite still-in-place stay-at-home orders.

Electric carmaker Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report reportedly has asked dozens of workers at its car plant in Fremont, California, to return to work as soon as this Wednesday despite stay-at-home orders that remain in place for some 40 million Californians amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Internal messages viewed by Bloomberg indicate that Tesla is asking some of its workers - mostly those responsible for paint and stamping operations - to return to work as early as April 29, six days ahead of the tentative May 3 date currently being considered by state officials as a date to begin cautiously allowing businesses to reopen.

The potential battle come as states weigh the health and safety vs. economic benefits of reopening for business some seven weeks after the coronavirus pandemic brought the U.S. economy to an unprecedented standstill. Several states including Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas and Wyoming began lifting restrictions on some businesses this past weekend.

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Tesla last month gained headlines after defying stay-at-home orders and keeping its carmaking factory up and running, leading to a run-in with the local Alameda County sheriff’s office. Tesla argued it was an essential service and should remain open; the sheriff’s department argued otherwise. Tesla closed the site on March 29.

Tesla had previously communicated to its approximately 10,000-strong staff that it expected to resume normal production at its U.S. facilities on May 4, the day after Bay area health measures are slated to end.

The Fremont plant - Tesla's only auto-production facility in North America - builds every vehicle currently in Tesla’s lineup. It last produced cars on March 23. Analysts at Credit Suisse estimate that the factory’s shutdown has been driving about $300 million of cash burn a week.

Shares of Tesla are up 8.25% at $784.97 in trading on Monday.