Technology

Elon Musk reopening California factory against county order

Elon Musk announced his intentions to reopen a Tesla plant in California on Monday in defiance of orders meant to contain the coronavirus, inviting authorities to arrest him for doing so.

“Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules,” the electric vehicle company’s CEO tweeted.

“I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” he added.

Monday’s announcement is a marked escalation from Musk, who has criticized stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of COVID-19, the deadly disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., factory has been shut down since March 23, shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued a statewide stay-at-home order.

The car manufacturer has been pushing for an exception that would allow the plant to reopen since then.

Alameda County officials have said they were negotiating with Tesla on a reopening plan.

Last week, Newsom announced new guidance allowing some factories to reopen but said counties could continue imposing limitations.

On May 9, Tesla’s attorneys filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against Alameda County’s stay-at-home order.

Musk tweeted the same day that Tesla would be moving out of California because of the handling of the coronavirus.

The Fremont plant started producing cars again over the weekend, The Verge reported.

Newsom said at a press conference Monday that he was surprised by the report, saying he needed more details.

The Hill has reached out to Alameda County for comment on Musk’s latest statement.

The outspoken CEO has frequently sought to diminish the threat of the coronavirus, at one point tweeting that there would be close to zero new cases by the end of April.

There have been 1.3 million confirmed cases in the U.S. as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s disease tracker.

—Updated at 7:18 p.m.

Tags Elon Musk Gavin Newsom

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