Tesla Inc. filed for an injunction against Alameda County, after it told the EV maker it couldn’t resume operations despite California Gov. Gavin Newsome permitting the resumption of manufacturing activities on a limited basis.
“I’m not messing around. Absurd & medically irrational behavior in violation of constitutional civil liberties, moreover by *unelected* county officials with no accountability, needs to stop,” Musk tweeted Saturday.
Last week, Newsome gave manufacturers approval to crank back up – pending approval of local government officials. Musk then told employees they would return to work this week, but that order was immediately put on hold.
Alameda County officials didn’t clear Tesla to restart, saying the company must remain closed until the end of May because it’s not an “essential” business. Musk, who’s already expressed his displeasure about the shelter-in-place order, took to Twitter, announcing he was done with the Golden State and enacting the nuclear option.
“Frankly, this is the final straw,” he tweeted on Saturday. “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 dependen(t) on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.”
Musk told employees via email May 7 that production would resume on a limited basis the next day. The plan was to bring back about 30% of the plant’s workforce to begin with. However, the Alameda County Health Department squelched that move saying that the county’s lockdown measures would remain in place, earning the CEO’s ire.
“The unelected & ignorant interim health officer is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has given a restart date of May 11 for manufacturers to resume operations. General Motors announced it would resume production this week. Ford and Fiat Chrysler had already set dates of May 18 to restart and are planning to remain on that timeline.
Musk has already wrestled with state and local officials twice about shutting down and restarting the plant in the last two months. The company initially ignored shutdown orders, claiming it was an essential business – something it has reiterated in its injunction filing – and that it could remain open.
However, the county’s Sheriff’s office moved in and enforced the measure on March 23, and Tesla complied. The EV maker also tried to restart operations in late April, then apparently just changed its mind after initially telling several employees to return to work on April 29.
Several employees in the company’s paint shop were instructed by email Sunday that they should not return work on the aforementioned date, and instead would likely come back on May 4 — the day after the region’s shelter-in-place order is expected to expire. However, the plant did not open on May 4 either.
Musk’s push to restart isn’t surprising, especially in light of a rant against the shelter-in-place order during the company’s earnings call. He called the mandates “fascist” and against American ideals. He claimed the state was “forcibly imprisoning people” saying it was “horrible and wrong.”