Tesla’s Shanghai workers will sleep in the factory to restart production during strict COVID-19 lockdowns
Workers will live on-site until May 1, pending changes to the city’s strict “COVID zero” policy, as the country encounters its worst wave of the virus since the pandemic’s early days.
Last week, President Xi Jinping reaffirmed China’s zero-COVID approach to the pandemic as the more transmissible Omicron variant continues to spread in the country, despite criticism from businesses and citizens that the restrictions are too harsh. The lockdown is so extreme that it has been difficult to buy food, and haunting social media videos have circulated of Shanghai residents screaming out of their windows in protest.
The recent lockdowns have delayed Tesla production by approximately 40,000 cars, Bloomberg reported.
The company will now provide each worker with a sleeping bag and mattress, as the facility does not have dorm accommodations. Specific areas will be allocated for sleeping, showering, entertainment, and eating.
Workers will be subject to COVID testing for their first three days in the “closed-loop” system of isolation on the factory premises, have their temperatures checked twice a day, and will be required to wash their hands four times a day. Tesla will provide three meals a day along with an allowance that will vary based on position and level within the company.
Apart from accommodating the approximately 400 employees already on-site, Tesla also issued special certificates and set up shuttle bus services for staff living in residential compounds outside the facility to join them.
Tesla did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.
The electric-car company is not the only one to ask workers to move their lives on-site in order to continue production in China. General Motors has also initiated a “closed-loop” system for its operations in Shanghai. So have Shanghai Port, the world’s largest container port, and Quanta Computer, which manufactures laptops for Apple.
China’s production slowdown as a result of its COVID restrictions could make inflation in the U.S. worse as supply-chain issues lead to unmet consumer demand for a variety of commodities, from cars to food. The COVID pandemic, and its effect on supply chains in general, has created major semiconductor and microchip shortages, which have affected all car manufacturers. As a result, used car prices have increased dramatically over the past year.
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