Story at a glance

  • Musk spoke out against the shelter-in-place restrictions during a Tesla earnings call.
  • He likened the restrictions to “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes,” calling it “fascist.”
  • His comments come after a series of tweets in which he urged states to end such lockdowns.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk continued to voice his opposition to shelter-in-place orders imposed by some states to curb the spread of the coronavirus Wednesday, calling the restrictions “fascist.”

Musk commented on California’s shelter-in-place order during Tesla’s earnings call, saying Tesla is worried about production at its Bay Area car factory, where the electric vehicle manufacturer builds the majority of its vehicles. He likened the coronavirus restrictions implemented by the state to “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes.”


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“It’s breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why they came to America or built this country,” Musk said. 

“If somebody wants to stay in their house that’s great, they should be allowed to stay in their house, they should not be compelled to leave, but to say that they cannot leave their house and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist,” Musk added. “This is not Democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom.”

Earlier this week, a group of San Francisco-area counties announced the extension of shelter-in-place orders through the end of May as health officials continue to try to mitigate the outbreak of the coronavirus that has infected more than 1 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 60,000. 

The orders, which were set to expire on May 3, will ease restrictions for a limited number of low-risk activities, public health officers from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties in California said in a joint statement.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has reportedly ordered the closure of all beaches and state parks following a weekend in which thousands of people packed public areas despite social-distancing restrictions.

In a series of tweets early Wednesday, Musk urged states across the country to end coronavirus lockdowns, posting phrases like “FREE AMERICA NOW,” and “Give people their freedom back.”

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In one tweet, Musk praised Texas after Gov. Greg Abbot (R) said this week his stay-at-home executive order would expire Thursday. 

Musk said states should “reopen with care & appropriate protection,” but said leaders shouldn’t be putting “everyone under de facto house arrest.”

More than a month ago, the Tesla CEO dismissed concerns about the threat of the coronavirus, writing in a tweet in early March: “The coronavirus panic is dumb.” Since then, Tesla has announced pay cuts and furloughs. 


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Public health officials have warned that lifting coronavirus measures too quickly before adequate testing, isolation and contact tracing is put in place could cause a rebound in cases, further exacerbating the outbreak in the U.S. 

A number of governors issued stay-at-home orders requiring people to avoid unnecessary travel and gathering in large groups to stop the spread of the disease, and many states ordered businesses deemed nonessential to close. Many of those orders are set to expire at the start of May. 

Protests against stay-at-home orders have also erupted in states across the country, most notably in Michigan, where thousands of demonstrators rallied outside the state capitol earlier this month. Protests outside the Michigan State Capitol building against the extension of a state of emergency order is scheduled for Thursday. 

Meanwhile, President Trump said Wednesday the federal government will not be extending its coronavirus social distancing guidelines once they expire Thursday, as lawmakers are eager to boost the economy after several weeks of closures. 

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Published on Apr 30, 2020