Tesla CEO Elon Musk is adamant about restarting the company’s production this month, saying he doesn’t care if he ends up getting arrested for defying government orders to remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The automaker has resumed its operations at its plant in Fremont, California this week, with no less than Elon Musk confirming that workers are back at work despite stay-at-home orders currently in place in Alameda County.
“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,” Tesla’s head posted on Twitter on May 11.
His tweets come after reports surfaced of the automaker resuming production despite not having the go signal from the local government. In the previous week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state is allowing manufacturing work to restart. Alameda County, where Tesla’s factory is located, however, did not lift its orders.
Various news organizations reported that Tesla’s plant has workers moving in and out of the facility, while photos showed packed parking lots. One worker was also reported to have called Fox News affiliate KTVU and said he went to work at 6 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 10 and ended his shift at 6 a.m. the next morning.
The worker said the company is “up and running” and also expressed concerns that the plant is not following health guidelines.
Alameda County officials released a statement upon learning that Tesla is back in production “beyond Minimum Basic Operations.”
“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,” the statement said.
In earlier reports, the local government was said to be looking into allowing Tesla to resume its operations on May 18. In a separate announcement, Musk said he is looking to move the company’s factory out of California.