Elon Musk threatens to move Tesla out of California over county’s stay-at-home order

Elon Musk threatened to move Tesla out of California Saturday over a lingering county stay-at-home order preventing the company from restarting business until June 1.

On Saturday, the Tesla CEO dangled an impending lawsuit via Twitter, accusing the Alameda County health officer of infringing on Constitutional freedoms.

“Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately. The unelected & ignorant ‘Interim Health Officer’ of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense,” Musk wrote.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) announced on Thursday new guidance allowing factories to reopen in the state but advised that some local governments could still impose limitations. Alameda County has kept measures preventing manufacturers from returning to work, according to TechCrunch.

Alameda health officials reviewed Tesla’s safety plan, with Health Officer Erica Pan saying, “We’ve asked them to wait” in regard to the company’s reopening blueprints, adding that Tesla has not been given the “green light.”

Tesla sent a private email to employees Thursday with plans to begin “limited operations” at its Fremont factory in Alameda County, going against the county’s stay-at-home orders, according to TechCrunch.

The plan reportedly would bring back nearly 30 percent of workers to the Fremont factory as early as Friday.

Musk threatened more drastic actions Saturday after receiving pushback from the health department, even laying out plans to move the company out of the state.

“Frankly, this is the final straw,” Musk said in a seemingly frustrated tweet. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependent on how Tesla is treated in the future.”

“Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA,” he added.

A spokesperson for the Alameda County Health Department told TechCrunch that Tesla had been informed of “all of the conditions that must exist for phasing in the safe reopening of various sectors of the economy and the community.”

The health department added, “Tesla has been informed that they do not meet those criteria and must not reopen.”

The county released a statement following Musk’s tweet on Saturday, saying, “The team at Tesla has been responsive to our guidance and recommendations, and we look forward to coming to an agreement on an appropriate safety plan very soon.”

The statement acknowledged the sacrifices made by small and large businesses amid Shelter-in-Place orders, adding that “We need to continue to work together so those sacrifices don’t go to waste and that we maintain our gains,” by moving through reopening phases “guided by data and science.”

The Hill has reached out to Tesla but has not immediately heard back.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Elon Musk Elon Musk Gavin Newsom reopening Tesla, Inc.

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