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Tesla and Elon Musk reopen California facility, defying orders meant to stem coronavirus spread

Tesla CEO Elon Musk escalated his standoff with county officials in California on Monday as he announced that the automaker would be "restarting production t...

Posted: May 11, 2020 3:23 PM
Updated: May 12, 2020 7:15 AM

Tesla CEO Elon Musk escalated his standoff with county officials in California on Monday as he announced that the automaker would be 'restarting production today against Alameda County rules.'

The decision follows the executive's sharp Twitter outbursts in recent weeks objecting to state lockdown orders meant to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. In a tweet on Monday, Musk said he would be at the factory, 'on the line with everyone else.'

'If anyone is arrested, he tweeted, 'I ask that it only be me.'

Musk has argued that restrictions closing non-essential businesses put in place by Alameda County, where Tesla's Fremont factory is based, are overly aggressive and unconstitutional. On Saturday, the company filed a federal lawsuit against the county. Musk has also threatened to relocate Tesla's headquarters out of California and suggested he might move manufacturing from there as well.

In a statement Monday afternoon, county officials said they are negotiating with Tesla on a plan to reopen the plant more fully.

'We continue to move closer to an agreed upon safety plan for reopening beyond Minimum Basic Operations by working through steps that Tesla has agreed to adopt,' the Alameda County Public Health Department said in a statement. 'These steps include improving employee health screening procedures and engaging front-line staff on their concerns and feedback regarding safety protocols.'

Musk has won support from some in the Trump administration. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Monday that California's government should work harder to reopen the local economy.

'He's one of the biggest employers and manufacturers in California, and California should prioritize doing whatever they need to do to solve those health issues so that he can open quickly or or they're going to find, as he's threatened, he's moving his production to a different state,' Mnuchin said.

But speaking to reporters on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom deferred to county officials, saying each county is reopening according to conditions on the ground.

'Again, it's county-led enforcement,' he said. Still, Newsom said he had 'great reverence' for Tesla and its founder and said he had spoken to Musk 'a number of days ago.'

In response, Musk tweeted: 'Thank you Governor Newsom!'

Newsom added that he expects the county to allow Tesla to reopen by 'as early as next week,' based on his understanding of interactions between the company and local officials.

Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update: This article has been updated to clarify what Musk has said about which parts of Tesla he might want to move out of California.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 175121

Reported Deaths: 2460
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34937568
Washington23491229
Marion20195299
Clackamas15386204
Lane11591144
Jackson9923127
Umatilla796883
Deschutes712972
Linn416063
Yamhill410175
Klamath349059
Polk344252
Malheur342858
Josephine306362
Douglas304765
Benton273218
Jefferson207032
Coos197531
Columbia154526
Union141624
Lincoln130220
Wasco129128
Hood River112529
Morrow107915
Clatsop8958
Crook88019
Baker85814
Curry5959
Tillamook5813
Lake4137
Grant4124
Harney3066
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam561
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3718210

Reported Deaths: 61038
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122899723653
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2947794555
San Diego2749603674
Orange2689624896
Santa Clara1170812013
Kern1078591322
Sacramento1011721646
Fresno1005621646
Alameda853671477
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa67019782
Stanislaus603831028
Tulare49383829
Monterey43267357
San Mateo41157560
San Francisco36032523
Santa Barbara33896446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29696311
Imperial27987719
Kings22774245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16260239
Santa Cruz15571204
Marin13861226
Yolo13580200
Shasta11677217
Butte11573196
El Dorado9719109
Napa966679
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito598663
Lassen566924
Tehama543056
Nevada445775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador362551
Humboldt358737
Lake340943
Glenn235725
Colusa219816
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4247
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned610
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