SHANGHAI – Car manufacturers including Tesla Inc. were ready to reopen their plants in Shanghai on Monday as China’s most populous city speeds up efforts to return to normal life after nearly three weeks Coronavirus covid infection shutdown.
However, most workers will have to continue to live on the site, and there has been no immediate announcement as factories will deal with supply line disruptions and closures ordered by authorities in other cities. Port and freight problems also remain a concern.
The city’s closure and China’s measures to combat the pandemic elsewhere have damaged the economy and shaken global supply chains. Shanghai’s 25 million residents are struggling with loss of income, lack of regular food supplies, family breakups and poor conditions in quarantine centers.
Last week, Beijing said it had compiled a “white list” of 666 firms that have priority to resume or maintain operations in Shanghai, including Tesla. Volkswagen and its Chinese partner SAIC Motor, as well as semiconductor and medical firms, according to a copy of the list seen by Reuters.
To prepare for the restart, Tesla has recalled workers to its plant in Shanghai, where they will need to live on site, according to China’s “closed-loop management” process, two sources said.
The manufacturer of EV will provide each employee with a sleeping bag and mattress, a memo sent to employees and a viewing of the Bloomberg show. Given that there is no purpose-built dormitory, people will have to sleep on the floor in a designated area, and there will be other places designed for showers, entertainment (as yet unfinished) and food, the memo shows.
All employees will have to take daily tests for nucleic acids for the first three days, check the temperature twice a day and wash their hands four times a day, twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon, the memo said. The workers will be provided with three meals a day and will receive about 400 yuan ($ 63) a day, although the actual amount will depend on the person’s position and level, one said.
According to a memorial note, only staff living in the lowest-risk housing estates, and those who have undergone a double vaccination regime, will join about 400 staff who are already on site due to the pandemic prevention and emergency measures.
The last closed-loop workers entered the factory just after midnight and are expected to work in the system until May 1, although that may change in line with the city’s pandemic prevention policy, the note said.
Prior to the pause caused by the pandemic on March 28, Tesla workers in Shanghai worked in three shifts covering 24 hours seven days a week. The factory staff worked four days and then had two days off. Now they are asked to work 12 hours a day, six days a day off, acquaintances said.
The company’s plant in Shanghai produced about 2,100 cars a day, 182,174 cars were produced in the first quarter. However, increasing production after such a long cessation will not be an instant process.
Another person familiar with the issue said Tesla has stocks for just over two weeks based on its new closed schedule, and logistics is a major challenge for many other parts.
SAIC Motor said on Monday it would begin conducting stress tests on its own production resumption plans, while VW said it was evaluating the possibility of resuming production at a joint venture with SAIC.
The city is seeking to stop the spread of COVID-19 outside quarantine areas by Wednesday, Reuters reported, citing sources on Sunday, an ambitious goal that would further mitigate its closure.
To achieve this goal, testing and transfer of positive cases and their close contacts to isolation centers is intensified.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.