After Elon Musk called stay-at-home orders ‘fascist’, a worker in a re-opened Tesla factory reportedly tests positive for COVID-19

Tesla factory in Buffalo, New York

  • A worker in Tesla’s Buffalo, New York, factory has tested positive for COVID-19, The Verge reported.
  • Tesla factories nationwide re-opened in May, with the Buffalo factory opening in May 19.
  • CEO Elon Musk previously sent Tesla workers in California to work in defiance of the state’s stay-at-home orders.

A worker at a Tesla factory in Buffalo, New York, has tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus, The Verge reported.

The employee is the fourth known Tesla worker to test positive for COVID-19. CEO Elon Musk reopened Tesla factories nationwide in May, and this is the first Tesla employee at these plants to report that they have become sick.

The Buffalo factory is operated by SolarCity, Tesla’s solar energy subsidiary. Typically, the factory employs around 1,500, but nearly 1,000 have been furloughed since the beginning of the virus shutdown, Buffalo Business First reported.

A Tesla spokesperson did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on Buffalo case, or share if they intended shutter the factory again

CEO Elon Musk has fought amid the virus shutdowns for his company’s factories to continuing producing goods. Critics said that this would put workers at risk, and that Tesla should not re-open factories in defiance of state law. Musk called the lockdown orders “fascist” in a quarterly earnings call with investors on April 29.

Of course, such lockdown orders, while intended to save American lives amid the historic pandemic, prevents Musk’s companies from building rockets, spaceships, cars, and solar panels, as Business Insider previously reported.

Musk previously sent Tesla workers in California to work in defiance of the state’s stay-at-home orders. Some workers told Business Insider that if they refused to go for health or legal reasons that they feared would be fired.

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