© Tesla General | May 12, 2020
Tesla bucks Alameda County order, opens Fremont factory
In defiance of an Alameda County restriction for “non-essential” businesses to remain closed under the State of California’s stay-at-home orders in place since mid-March, Tesla CEO Elon Musk initiated the re-opening of certain manufacturing operations at the company’s Fremont, California plant on Monday.
Tesla has been categorized as “non-essential” under the virus restrictions put in place by Alameda County Department of Public Health, and the plant has been shuttered since March 23. A series of Musk-generated Tweets that began at the end of April, when the automaker’s quarterly earnings report was released, have increasingly hinted at the automaker’s plans to defy the orders and open early. In recent days, Musk has seemed to take Elton John’s “Saturday night’s all right for fighting” declaration to heart: Musk filed a lawsuit against Alameda County on Saturday, and took to Twitter Saturday night to further clarify his position: "Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately," Musk tweeted. On Monday morning, Musk again tweeted what he was up to in Fremont. “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.” In response, the County immediately issued Tesla a deadline of 5 p.m. Monday to submit a site-specific plan that ensures worker safety. An inquiry by Evertiq to confirm the receipt of such a plan by the County of Alameda Public Health went unanswered as of Tuesday. NBC Bay Area posted this statement from Alameda County Public Health in response to the plant’s reopening: “We have notified Tesla that they can only maintain Minimum Basic Operations until we have an approved plan that can be implemented in accordance with the local public health Order. We are addressing this matter using the same phased approach we use for other businesses which have violated the Order in the past, and we hope that Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures.” Still unknown is who might actually try to force closure of the Fremont plant. County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly said the Fremont Police Department would have jurisdiction, and Fremont PD spokesperson Geneva Bosques said, “officers would take action at the direction of the county health officer,” according to the NBC Bay Area story. A half-dozen San Francisco Bay Area counties, including Alameda, were the first in the nation to issue stay-at-home orders two months ago. Since the restrictions began, Gov. Gavin Newsom has reiterated that counties may impose more strict orders than what the State is mandating. While the order in the Bay Area has been extended until the end of the month, the counties have announced plans to allow certain business and manufacturing as soon as May 18. That is also the day automakers in Detroit are planning to fire up auto assembly plants, with some automobile parts factories resuming production this week. In a Tuesday morning Tweet, President Trump lodged his support of the automaker, urging California to allow Tesla to operate.