Mark Shima, President of Panasonic solar North America (psna), told employees in an email from the verge that the company had to postpone bringing workers back because the plants location, West New York, did not meet the new standards of Andrew Cuomo, New Yorks governor, and could not restart. We will not restart production on Saturday, May 16, Shima wrote in an email on Thursday. The new target date depends on covid-19 in Yili County, and I will announce it in the next few days.
Western New York met five of the seven criteria. However, in order to meet the requirements, the area needs to reduce the number of net inpatients for 14 consecutive days, or the average number of new inpatients per day within three days is less than 15. In addition, there needs to be a 14 day drop in hospital deaths - or an average of less than five deaths a day for three days. Since the western part of New York has not yet met these standards, the home rule was extended to May 28. If the region meets these two final criteria before then, Panasonic may be allowed to return workers to work.
According to the verge, Panasonic shut down operations at its New York plant in mid March, after an employee tested positive for covid-19. In the past few weeks, Panasonic has spent weeks preparing workers to return to the buffalo factory. According to one of the emails, the company even told workers to petition the governors office to allow psna to resume operations ahead of time - an effort that seemed futile. Shima told employees in an email on May 9 that the company is planning to separate employees space by six feet, provide masks and wipes, and install transparent protective covers on the production line.
Panasonic announced earlier this year that it would end its partnership with Teslas New York plant. Previously, it had said it would only hire workers there until the end of May and planned to fully exit the plant by September. A current employee told the verge that Panasonics North American plant had at least one month to go.
A Panasonic North America spokesman declined to comment on the delay in the resumption of work at the New York plant. Panasonic has been working steadily overtime at the Nevada super plant, the spokesman said. The verge reported for the first time earlier this week that Tesla has also resumed operations there. Nevada governor Steve sisolak recently announced the states first phase of a plan to allow some businesses to reopen, forcing some measures, such as masks, to be enforced.
It is unclear whether Tesla has resumed operations at its New York plant; the company did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment. Tesla recently reopened its car factory in Fremont, California, in violation of local public health orders, and finally reached an agreement with officials to resume full production. Tesla CEO musk once called the local asylum warrant to stop the spread of the new crown virus fascism, and even said this week that if Teslas employees are arrested, the employees he wants to arrest are himself.
Keep in mind that one of the important policies of psna is compliance, Shima said in an email to employees on Thursday. Psna will always comply with state and local government laws and official instructions, even if those are different from the intent of our psnas business activities.
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