- Alameda County said in a press release Monday it’s aware Tesla had restarted productions in violation of its coronavirus lockdown and that it hopes the company will “comply without further enforcement.”
- Officials have notified Tesla that it can only continue “basic operations” under the rule and are working with the company to develop a timeline and process for reopening safely, according to the release.
- Tesla has resumed manufacturing operations at its California-based factory in defiance of the public health order, with CEO Elon Musk tweeting that he would personally be on the line, risking arrest.
- Musk has become increasingly critical of shelter-in-place orders meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, and recently sued Alameda County over its order.
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Officials from Alameda County, California, said in a press release Monday that they were aware Tesla had resumed operations in violation of a local public health order closing down non-essential businesses and that they hope the company will comply willingly.
“Today, May 11, we learned that the Tesla factory in Fremont had opened beyond Minimum Basic Operations,” the release said, adding that officials have notified Tesla that it can only continue minimal operations for now and hope it will “comply without further enforcement measures.”
Officials said they’re working with Tesla on a plan for reopening its Bay Area factory that “ensures the safety of their thousands of employees” and communities and that “aligns with local and state requirements.”
Tesla has agreed to improve employee health screenings procedures as well as listen better to factory workers’ concerns as part of that proposed plan, which the company plans to submit later on Monday, according to the release.
— Alameda County Sheriff (@ACSOSheriffs) May 11, 2020
Three employees told Business Insider earlier on Monday that Tesla had asked employees to return to work with phone calls and text messages, and that they were afraid of losing their job if they refused.
CEO Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla had restarted production in defiance of local orders, tweeting Monday: “I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”
Musk has been extremely critical of state and local shelter-in-place orders meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, calling them “fascist” and “fundamentally a violation of the Constitution.” Tesla has attempted to restart its operations several times recently despite public health orders prohibiting it from doing so.
While only essential businesses are currently allowed to operate in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom let some retail and manufacturing businesses open last Friday and said Monday he expected Tesla to start up operations by next week.
“My understanding is they have had some very constructive conversations,” Newsom said in a video press conference. “My belief and hope and expectation is as early as next week, they will be able to resume.”
However, Newsom also said local governments are allowed to maintain stricter rules if they choose to – which Alameda and several other counties in the Bay Area have done.
Over the weekend, Tesla sued Alameda County over its public health order, which local officials responded to by saying they were engaging with the company in good faith to balance business needs with local safety.