Elon Musk dares arrest as he re-opens Tesla factory in California
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is defying a stay closed order and opening the automaker’s US factory in California.
The move comes as states around the United States experiment with the best ways to safely re-open businesses after the coronavirus outbreak.
Musk has been hitting Twitter pretty hard over recent weeks, most recently threatening to leave California for Texas or Nevada over the state’s orders to close.
In an email sent out last night, Tesla referred to an order by California’s governor on Thursday but said it would be opening, regardless. As of Sunday, previously furloughed employees were back to regular employment.
"We're happy to get back to work and have implemented very detailed plans to help you keep safe as you return," according to the email sent to Reuters and titled "Furlough Has Ended And We Are Back To Work in Production!"
Speaking about the re-opening, Musk tweeted, “If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”
While California has eased restrictions on manufacturing centres, Tesla has not received the official go-ahead to re-open.
According to health officials in the county where Tesla’s factory is located, it had notified the company that it would not be allowed to operate without a county-approved plan. In a statement, officials said they “hope Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures”.
Ignoring lockdown orders are punishable by fines and imprisonment.
Speaking about the spat between Musk and the lockdown orders, California Governor Gavin Newsom said he has spoken to Musk several days ago – and that the Tesla’s concerns have helped re-open manufacturing last week.
"I have not only known that company but I have known its founder for many, many years," Newsom said in his daily coronavirus press briefing. "I have great reverence for their technology, for their innovative spirit, for their leadership."