Elon Musk, Chief Executive of Tesla, said production at the company’s primary vehicle factory in California resumed on Monday. As he went against the local authorities attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 by keeping the plant closed, he took full responsibility by asking that only he should be arrested if that be the case.
After the Covid-19 pandemic closed many businesses and forced tens of millions of Americans into unemployment, ailing states and cities around the United States are attempting to safely reopen their businesses and reignite their economies.
Over the weekend, Musk threatened to leave California to either Nevada or Texas over the argument. The competition for jobs was highlighted in his planned move, together with encouragement from US President Donald Trump has motivated these two states and other states as well to quickly reopen their economies.
Tesla referred to the California Governor’s order on Thursday that allowed manufacturers to resume operations and said that previously furloughed employees will resume their regular employment status as of Sunday, according to an email he issued on Monday.
“We’re happy to get back to work and have implemented very detailed plans to help you keep safe as you return,” according to the email seen by Reuters which was titled “Furlough Has Ended And We Are Back To Work in Production!”
According to a tweet by Musk, he said production would resume on Monday and that he would personally stand in with his workforce on the assembly line.
“If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” he wrote.
Alameda County which is where the Fremont factory is based, had announced through their health officials on Friday and Saturday that as long as local lockdown measures to curb Covid-19 are enforced, the factory must continue to remain shut.
Local officials went on to state that any person or persons found to be violating the lockdown order would be fined or sentenced to jail time or served both punishments.
However, Alameda Country officials did not respond to media requests whether they would proceed to stop Tesla’s operations.
A Fremont Police Department spokeswoman said on Monday that the lockdown order enforced by her office was directed by the health department, and was advised that the county is working directly with Tesla.
Also on Monday, Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury Secretary, said if the state of California wanted to keep the company in its state, it should take whatever steps are needed get the electric carmaker to reopen its only vehicle factory in the US.
Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, said on Monday that he did speak to Tesla’s founder, Musk, a few days ago, and that the concerns from Musk helped motivate the state to begin its reopening phase of manufacturing last week.
“I have not only known that company but I have known its founder for many, many years,” Newsom said in his daily coronavirus press briefing. “I have great reverence for their technology, for their innovative spirit, for their leadership.”
Tesla sued the Alameda County on Saturday, saying that its actions defied Governor Newsom’s orders allowing manufacturers to reopen, hence violating California’s constitution.
In the past, Musk discussed about opening a second US factory outside California. In February he sought comments on his Twitter account on the possibility of opening one in the state of Texas. Currently Tesla has a plant in Shanghai and another plant under construction in Berlin.
Officials from Texas, Georgia, Utah, Oklahoma and Nevada have responded to Musk on Twitter, with encouraging proposals to relocate his plant to their state since his threat to leave California was made on Saturday. The state of Texas has said their Hidalgo county was immediately available to allow Tesla to construct its factory, and even extended an invitation to Musk to pay a visit.
“We have a motivated, pro-business governor,” said the county judge of Texas’ Hidalgo County, Richard Cortez, said on Monday. “What we no longer have is a shelter at home mandate.”
Musk’s response on on Twitter was: “Note is much appreciated.”
12th May 2020 17:07
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