Tesla and Elon Musk reopen California facility, defying local orders meant to stem coronavirus spread


The decision follows the leader's sharp Twitter outburst in recent weeks, which has objections to state closure orders intended to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. In a tweet on Monday, Musk said he would be at the factory, "in line with everyone else."

"If anyone gets arrested, he tweeted, "I ask that it be just me."

Musk has argued that restrictions imposed by Alameda County closing non-essential businesses, based on the Tesla Fremont plant, are overly aggressive and unconstitutional. On Saturday, the company filed a federal lawsuit against the county. Musk has also threatened to relocate Tesla's California production.

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Musk has won support from someone in the Trump administration. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC Monday that the California government should work harder to reopen the local economy.

"He is one of the largest employers and producers in California, and California should prioritize doing what they need to do to solve the health issues so that he can open quickly or whether they want to find out, while he is threatened, he moving production to another state, "Mnuchin said.

But when he spoke to reporters on Monday, Prime Minister Gavin Newsom deferred to county governors, saying that each county reopens according to conditions on the ground.

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"Again, it's county-led enforcement," he said. Still, Newsom said he had "great reverence" for Tesla and its founder and said he had spoken to Musk "a couple of days ago."

In response, Musk tweeted: "Thank you Governor Newsom!"

Newsom added that he expects the county to allow Tesla to reopen with "as early as next week," based on his understanding of the interaction between the company and local officials.

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Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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