Tesla CEO Elon Musk has reopened the company’s manufacturing plant in Alameda County, California, elevating his public feud with Interim Public Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan, who has prohibited the company from resuming business via a county-wide order that is more strict than the governor’s public health order.
In a tweet on Monday afternoon, Musk said Tesla would begin to ramp up production in the county, which includes the Fremont facility where over 10,000 people have jobs.
“Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” said Musk.
Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
According to Politico, the parking lot at the Fremont plant was “packed” as of Monday, and some contractors with Tesla told the news agency they had returned to work.
In an email obtained by The Verge, Musk told employees late last Thursday that the plant would reopen on the following day with a limited workforce, a move that aligned with the governor’s plan to allow manufacturing across the state to resume.
But Alameda County blocked the reopening plan on Friday, with the interim public health officer noting in a town hall that Tesla did not have the “green light” to resume business under the county’s order, reports CBS News.
Frustrated, Musk accused the public health officer on Saturday of ignoring “common sense” and announced that he would move Tesla’s headquarters and other unnamed programs out of the state.
During a press conference on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) responded to Tesla’s feud with Alameda County, but said he was unaware of reports that Tesla decided to reopen earlier in the day.
“I have great expectations that we can work through, at the county level, the issue with this particular county and this company, in the next number of days,” said Newsom. “Look, I have more confidence moving forward in our ability to support a company that this state has substantively supported for now many, many years.”
“I’m confident we’ll get through this regardless of what some people are saying on social media and in the press currently,” said Newsom.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Tesla filed a lawsuit on Saturday, arguing that Alameda County empowered itself to close businesses, under the threat of fines or jail time, that supply critical infrastructure even after deeming them as essential.
The lawsuit also argues that the closures have not been applied consistently within neighboring counties with “substantially similar” coronavirus death rates and infections.
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