Elon Musk Says He Is Prepared for Arrest as He Reopens California Tesla Facility in Defiance of Local Order

A Tesla vehicle drives past Tesla’s vehicle factory after CEO announced he was defying local officials’ coronavirus restrictions by reopening the plant in Fremont, Calif., May 11, 2020. (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Monday that the company’s only U.S. auto factory will resume production in California in violation of Alameda County’s stay at home measures and asked that he be the only one who is arrested if necessary.

Musk he will join workers on the assembly line at the factory as production starts up again.

“If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” he wrote in a tweet.

“We’re happy to get back to work and have implemented very detailed plans to help you keep safe as you return,” Tesla said in an email that cited California governor’s guidance on manufacturers reopening and said the automaker’s employees are no longer on furlough.

Health officials in Alameda County said Monday that the county is negotiating a plan with Tesla for reopening the facility, adding that they are aware the company has already reopened beyond the allowed basic operations. Officials said they were expecting a plan from Tesla on Monday and “hope Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures.”

“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,” read a statement from the Alameda County Public Health Department. “These steps include improving employee health screening procedures and engaging front-line staff on their concerns and feedback regarding safety protocols.”

The county’s stay at home measures implemented to combat the coronavirus pandemic carry a penalty of a fine or imprisonment for violators.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday said he supports Tesla reopening, noting that Musk is “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 and safely.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday he has spoken to Musk in recent days and has “great reverence” for Tesla. He added that he has also had “very constructive conversations” with the county and Tesla representatives and is hoping the Tesla plant can reopen “as early as next week.”

Mairead McArdle is a news writer for National Review Online and a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College.
@johnsonhildy

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