Musk has for weeks now decried the coronavirus shelter-in-place orders in the state that have left Tesla’s largest production plant closed over the last few weeks.
Musk noted that his company will also be filing a lawsuit against Alameda County, arguing that the “unelected and ignorant interim health officers there are acting contrary to the orders issued by the governor.” He also noted that Tesla’s main operations have ground to halt as a result of these orders, noting that the company is unable right now to produce any cars. This could be detrimental to its bottom line.
The Tesla CEO who appeared rattled by the extension of these stay-at-home orders continued to note that “this was the last straw”, threatening to move headquarters in Texas or Nevada. Musk also pointed out that Tesla was the only car manufacturer in California.
The company’s Fremont Gigafactory is located about 30 miles southeast of San Francisco in Alameda County. On April 29th, local authorities in the county announced that they will be extending shelter in place orders until further notice. This meant that businesses had to wait a bit longer to resume operations, including Tesla factories.
The order came as a huge setback for Tesla. It was reported that the company had actually planned to resume some manufacturing shortly before the order was issued. However, local officials noted that the car manufacturer hadn’t sought and received any permission from relevant bodies to do so.
According to a spokeswoman from the Fremont Police Department, the initial shelter-in-place orders issued by Governor Newsom are still in place and nothing has changed. Officials from Alameda County merely extended them and this would mean that any attempt to operate the factory right now will be a complete violation.
Musk did also express the same sentiment during a conference call with investors arguing that the shelter-in-place orders were “breaking people’s freedom in ways that are horrible and wrong.” The Tesla CEO even went on to suggest that people should be given the right to decide the risks on their own.
He argued that if someone wants to stay home then they should be allowed to, but threatening them with possible arrests should they decide to leave is, according to him, “fascist.”
The novel coronavirus has devastated the United States and other countries around the world. The global death total stands at 292,000 with over 4.26 million infections reported so far. It’s the worst public health crisis we have seen in years.
The US has, however, started to see a decline in the rate of new infections. Some states like Texas and Georgia are also starting to ease stay-at-home orders in an effort to jump-start their economies. However, California, where Tesla is based, is still taking a precautionary approach.