Tesla CEO, Elon Musk has done it again in a tweet he posted yesterday that the company has restarted operations at its Fremont, California factory which violates the local government’s shelter-in-place order. In a tweet he made that afternoon, Musk wrote that he’d be on the assembly front line and asked that he be arrested if authorities wants to take anyone into custody.
The state law allows a fine of about US$1000/day or up to 90 days in jail for anyone operating in violation of health orders. As for the Fremont plant located in the southern San Francisco was shut down back in March 23rd as a preventive measure to further curb off the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Early Monday, the Fremont plant was almost filled with its employees. The company has about 10,000 workers while the Tesla Semis were delivering vehicles which may have been produced right before the shutdown.
The Sheriff of the Alameda County, the place where Tesla plant is situated, Sgt. Ray Kelly made it known that any enforcement of the order would come from the Fremont police department. Geneva Bosques, Fremont police spokeswoman, said officers would take action at the direction of the county health officer. She referred further comment to the Health Department, where the AP left messages seeking comment.
The Health Department said Saturday it was in talks with Tesla to reopen the plant safely. Earlier on, Tesla had filed a legal suit against the Alameda county stating that it’s defying the state Governor’s order to reopening the state.
The restart came two days after Tesla sued the county health department seeking to overturn its order, and Musk threatened to move Tesla’s manufacturing operations and headquarters from the state. The lawsuit says the governor’s coronavirus restrictions refer to federal guidelines classifying vehicle manufacturing as essential businesses that are allowed to continue operating.
“Frankly, this is the final straw,” Musk wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.”
He further wrote that he might move the headquarters of the company away from the state depending on how the company is being treated in the future. On Monday, Newsom professed not to know if Tesla had reopened. “Not aware (of) the details of that,” he said.
“I have great expectations that we can work through at the county levels,” the governor said about conflicts involving the Fremont plant. He said county health directors are in charge of restrictions and the timing of any resumption of manufacturing.
There is currently a limited return of business and manufacturing at the Bay Area with health restrictions which starts by May 18th which is the same day as the Detroit Automakers plan to restart assembly plants.
“We look forward to many, many decades of that relationship” with Tesla, Newsom said.
The governor of the state has further made it known that each of the counties in the state can make more stringent impositions than the state order and Alameda County was among the six counties in San Francisco Bay Area that were the first in the nation to impose the Shelter-in-place order back in mid-March.
Initially, Tesla had pledged to make some 1,000 ventilators for California hospitals which earned the praises of Newsom while praising the company’s executive, Elon Musk as being the “Perfect example” of the private sector in assisting with the state of the pandemic.
But whether Musk made good on the promise remains in dispute. Several weeks after Newsom was touting the ventilators, the state said it hadn’t heard of any being delivered. Musk responded, demanding on Twitter that Newsom correct the record and sharing tweets and screenshots from hospitals and Los Angeles County thanking him for sending supplies.
And even before this week, Musk hasn’t been a big fan of the Shelter-in-place measure and even appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast where he touted against the order. He had called the restriction as being “fascist and anti-democratic” while urging the government to stop taking people’s freedom from them.
Meanwhile public health experts say stay-home orders have reduced the number of new coronavirus cases nationwide. The coronavirus which had caused the loss of lives of tens of thousands worldwide has infected millions of people in the US alone killing nearly 80,000 people in the country.
The Health Department said Saturday it looks forward to reaching agreement on a plan to reopen “very soon,” but noted that given the sacrifices made to protect public health, “it is our collective responsibility to move through the phases of reopening and loosening the restrictions” in the safest way possible.
Tesla on the order hand had stated to be having safety measures in place to protect workers including increased cleaning, enforcement of social distancing as well as providing face coverings and gloves where needed, installation of barriers between workers when necessary and workers temperature checks on the regular at some places.
Although Elon Musk had threatened to move the company’s Headquarters away from California entirely, that will be slightly difficult to do. And for the fact that the Fremont plant is the only US vehicle manufacturing plant of Tesla makes it hard for the company as it could lose critical production of it shut down the plant and move to say Nevada or Texas. But the lack of production t the Fremont plant has caused a big financial strain on t he company as Musk said last month during a conference call that the closure poses a “serious risk” to the business.
Musk plans another U.S. factory to increase output, possibly in Texas, and could move production once that plant is up and running who knows but more development about the story will be published today to put you afloat.