Aramida County health officials warned Tesla yesterday not to reopen its California-based auto plant, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter today that Tesla will sue the county and move its headquarters out of the state,media reported. The tweet came hours after Tesla’s lawyers filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Northern California asking the court to impose an injunction on the county’s “insituated segregation” policy.
The lawyer explained that this was because the policy “contradicts the governor’s order and limits the commercial operations of the federal critical infrastructure sector to some extent.”
Musk said on Twitter: “Tesla will immediately sue Alameda County. The ignorant ‘temporary health official’ in Alameda County acted against the wishes of the governor and even the president, and even damaged our constitutional freedoms without any common sense! “
Musk has been relentlessly critical of the new coronavirus-related home-based isolation policy, saying on a corporate earnings conference call on April 29that that the restrictions are “fascist” and undemocratic at all. “We are a little concerned that we can’t resume production in the Gulf, which should be considered a serious risk,” Mr Musk said. He also appealed to his supporters on Twitter, asking them to “express their differences with Alameda County as strongly as possible.”
On Saturday, an Alameda County spokesman said in a statement that the county’s health service and public health department have been “directly communicating and working closely with the local Tesla team in Fremont.” It’s a sincere collaboration, and both sides hope to reach a safety program that will ensure the safety of the re-operation while protecting the health and well-being of thousands of employees traveling to and from Tesla’s plants. “
The spokesman added that Tesla’s team has been responding to guidance and recommendations, “and we look forward to reaching an agreement on the appropriate safety plan in the near future.” The announcement came hours after Musk’s tweet, which did not mention the Tesla CEO’s Twitter comments or his name.
“We are grateful to our residents and businesses for the tremendous sacrifices they have made, and as a result of our joint efforts, many lives have been saved and the health of our communities has been protected,” the statement added. Under the guidance of data and science, it is our common responsibility to gradually relax the restrictions of ‘in-place isolation’ in the safest way possible. “
Tesla yesterday announced plans to resume “limited operations” at its Fremont plant, which will bring 30 per cent of its workforce back to work. But officials in Alameda County, where Fremont is located, said yesterday that the plant was still in local isolation and that Tesla had not met the criteria for reopening. “We don’t think this is the right time to resume production,” said Erica Pan, a health official in Alameda County, according to Bloomberg. “
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that state-level guidelines that allow manufacturing to resume some production do not replace county restrictions. Tesla has tried unsuccessfully to argue that its production operations should be seen as critical infrastructure.
The Fremont plant, where Tesla assembles Model 3, Model S, Model X and Model Y cars, announced on March 23that that it was temporarily closed to comply with the “in-place isolation” policy order. From April 13, Tesla cut the wages of all paid U.S. workers and allowed most hourly workers who could not work remotely to take unpaid leave. What would happen to the roughly 10,000 workers at the Fremont plant if Tesla moved its business out of California, as Musk announced on Twitter? It is not clear.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.