Tesla seeks Covid rules waiver for Berlin Gigafest

Tesla is seeking a waiver from COVID-19 rules on mass gatherings to host up to 9,000 people at a “Giga-Fest” to showcase its plans.

The electric vehicle maker, which began construction in the town of Grunheide in December 2019 but is still awaiting final approval for its site, announced in August it would hold an event on Oct. 9 to let locals see the factory in construction.

Its outspoken boss, Elon Musk, tweeted earlier this month he would attend.

Local authorities told Reuters the company had applied for permission to have 9,000 people on-site, beyond pandemic rules which limit such gatherings to 5,000.

To host the event, Tesla must also prove it will not damage the land or release toxic substances into the groundwater – a topic which has held up construction on the grounds for months.

Tesla’s chosen site borders a water protection area, and environmental groups have expressed concern the factory could contaminate and over-use its groundwater sources.

Musk has said the factory will use less water than other industrial projects in the region, and that Tesla’s plans include measures such as a water recycling facility to ensure it does not strip locals of their drinking water.

A website set up to register for the event says the day will involve a “behind the scenes” factory tour and the opportunity to ride in a Model Y, the car that will be produced on-site if the factory is approved.

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