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Elon Musk emerges victorious in fight to reopen Tesla factory

Published May 13th, 2020 6:16PM EDT
Tesla Elon Musk
Image: Ena/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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  • After a tense stand-off, Tesla will be allowed to reopen its manufacturing plant in California next week.
  • The approval comes after Tesla sued Alameda County for refusing to let it resume operations at its Fremont factory.
  • In a viral tweet sent out this week, Musk initially volunteered to be arrested if authorities decided to enforce the state’s stay-at-home order.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Even by Tesla’s standards, the saga involving Elon Musk’s battle to reopen the company’s manufacturing plant in Fremont, California has been nothing short of bizarre. Tesla, if you recall, sued Alameda County over the weekend for not letting it resume business operations and reopen its Fremont factory.

The lawsuit, as you might expect, was accompanied by a tweet from Musk wherein the Tesla CEO blasted the Alameda Health Officer as “ignorant” and for acting “contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!”

With the lawsuit in play, Musk earlier this week decided to unilaterally reopen the company’s Fremont factory and, in something of a surreal twist, volunteered himself as tribute if the cops decided to swing by and arrest anyone for violating the state’s stay-at-home directive.

“Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules,” Musk said on Monday. “I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”

What’s more, Musk was so frustrated at the entire situation that he even threatened to move Tesla’s operations to either Nevada or Texas. From there, the situation took on an even more dramatic tone. Yesterday, President Trump tweeted: “California should let Tesla & open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!”

Though a tense stand-off with authorities seemed likely, the situation has resolved itself without further escalation.

Earlier today, Alameda County said that Tesla can maintain “minimum business operations” and that the entire factory can open back up fully next week provided that certain safety guidelines are implemented. In a statement on the matter, Alameda County said the following:

We reviewed the plan and held productive discussions today with Tesla’s representatives about their safety and prevention plans, including some additional safety recommendations. If Tesla’s Prevention and Control Plan includes these updates, and the public health indicators remain stable or improve, we have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week.

We will be working with the Fremont PD to verify Tesla is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers as they prepare for full production. Next Monday, May 18th, marks two weeks following the May 4th Order loosening restrictions. Provided that the data show progress with our COVID-19 indicators during this two week period, we would allow additional approved activities for local businesses, including Tesla, as previously planned.

Tesla’s push to reopen its Fremont factory comes as many states are starting to relax a number of safety measures initially implemented to keep the coronavirus from spreading. Notably, many health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have cautioned that a more deadly wave of the coronavirus may sweep the country if states reopen too quickly.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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