Updated March 27, 2020 - 7:19 pm
RENO – Tesla is winding down nonessential operations at its Gigafactory battery production plant in Storey County, reducing on-site staff by about 75 percent in compliance with the COVID-19-related state directive on business closings.
The facility, located in the 104,000-acre Tahoe Regional Industrial Center, an industrial park about 20 miles east of Reno, is shared by Tesla and its manufacturing partner Panasonic. Panasonic earlier shut down operations in compliance with Gov. Steve Sisolak’s March 20 order on nonessential business closures.
The two companies employ upward of 7,000 people at the plant, which produces battery packs for homes and Tesla cars.
“Our companies at (Tahoe Reno Industrial Center) are taking the COVID-19 matter seriously, and regularly report to us the measures they are taking to adhere to the established guidelines while maintaining essential operations,” he wrote. “Our grocery stores and doorsteps receive much of our food, sundries, and supplies from our TRIC companies, and we are glad they (are) a part of our community and the vital supply chain for many others outside Nevada. We are also grateful for the measures they are taking to keep our local communities safe.”
In an email to the county, Tesla’s Gigafactory vice president for operations Chris Lister said the company was “encouraging employees to work from home where possible.” Remaining essential staff working in security, maintenance, critical production and IT support would observe social-distancing guidelines and strict hygiene such as use of disinfectants twice per shift and mandatory temperature checks and hand-sanitizer use when entering the building.
Tesla earlier suspended production at its vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California. Company officials have not responded to requests for information on operations.