Elon Musk announces California factory reopening against government guidance
Mr Musk said if anyone should be arrested for defying the decree by reopening the California based plant it should be him. States and cities in the United States have been desperately searching for safe ways to reopen their suffering economies without risking a second spike of the outbreak.
Tens of millions of millions of Americans are currently out work after many companies were shuttered as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Musk warned over the weekend he would have to move the headquarters to Texas or Nevada due to the closure.
His announcement sparked competition for jobs and a hurry to attract the entrepreneur to other states that have already reopened their economies as per US President Donald Trump’s advice.
Tesla announced the move on Monday via an email titled “Furlough Has Ended And We Are Back To Work in Production!”
The notice cited a decree on Thursday by California’s governor that allows factories to reopen.
Tesla workers, who were previously furloughed, will be back to work from Sunday.
“We’re happy to get back to work and have implemented very detailed plans to help you keep safe as you return,” stated the email seen by Reuters.
Mr Musk in a tweet said production was restarting on Monday, adding that he would be there with staff members on the assembly line.
“If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” he wrote.
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Health officials in Alameda County, where the Fremont manufacturer is based, late on Monday said they acknowledged that Tesla had opened beyond the so-called minimum basic operations allowed during lockdown, and had informed the company it could not reopen without a county-approved strategy.
In a statement, officials said they expected a plan from Tesla later on Monday and “hope Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures.”
The statement did not cite repercussions the company could face and officials said they would not elaborate further.
The county’s lockdown guidelines says failure to comply would be sanctioned by fine, detention or both.
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A spokeswoman for the Fremont Police Department on Monday said her force was implementing the lockdown decree according to the heath department’s advice and understood the county was working with Tesla directly.
Separately on Monday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said California should do whatever it takes to help the manufacturer reopen its only US vehicle manufacturing plant if it wants to ensure the firm stays in the state.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday said he spoke to Mr Musk several days ago and that the CEO’s concerns encouraged the state to commence its phased reopening of manufacturing last week.
“I have not only known that company but I have known its founder for many, many years,” Mr Newsom said in his daily coronavirus press conference.
“I have great reverence for their technology, for their innovative spirit, for their leadership.”
In a tweet in February, Tesla co-founder requested advice on potentially opening a factory in Texas.
A Texas official said his county could set up the company right away and invited the CEO for a tour.
“We have a motivated, pro-business governor,” Richard Cortez, county judge of Texas’ Hidalgo County, said on Monday. “What we no longer have is a shelter at home mandate.”
Mr Musk in response tweeted: “Note is much appreciated.”
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