Tesla to Close Fremont, Calif. Factory; Shares Down 9%

Tesla will temporarily suspend operations at its Fremont, Calif. factory as part of a shelter-in-place order effective until at least April 7.
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Shares of Tesla fell in after-hours trading Thursday after the carmaker said it will suspend operations in its Fremont, Calif. factory amid a shelter-in-place order. 

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report will suspend production at the end of the day on March 23, the company told employees in an email. The factory is located in Alameda County, one of six Bay Area counties currently under a shelter-in-place order that restricts all but essential services and trips outside of the home to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Shares were down 9% in after-hours trading on the news after rising sharply during the regular session. 

Tesla had reportedly been going back and forth with local officials over suspending operations at the factory. Under the local order, only essential businesses such as medical facilities, grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are permitted to remain open. 

On his Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has downplayed the risk of coronavirus. Earlier this month he tweeted that the "panic" over the pandemic was "dumb." 

"Basic operations will continue in order to support our vehicle and energy service operations and charging infrastructure, as directed by the local, state and federal authorities," Tesla said on its website. 

It is suspending operations at its Buffalo, New York factory as well, but will continue operations in its Nevada gigafactory facility for the time being. 

The Alameda County order is in place until April 7, unless extended or otherwise revised by the county.

Other major automakers have moved to close their plants, including GM  (GM) - Get Report, Fiat Chrysler and Ford  (F) - Get Report