Tesla's California factory 'up and running' despite local restrictions

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Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., factory was "up and running" again on Monday, two days after Elon Musk sued the county where it's located and threatened to move the company's headquarters out of the state due to shelter-in-place rules preventing it from restarting production.

Musk tweeted: "Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me." He also wrote, "California approved, but an unelected county official illegally overrode. Also, all other auto companies in US are approved to resume. Only Tesla has been singled out. This is super messed up!"

Several local media outlets reported that the parking lot at the factory appeared to be full Monday morning. An employee claimed to Fox 2 KTVU that he’d been working from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday and that the facility was "up and running," and, in his opinion, not meeting health and safety guidelines.

After California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last Thursday that essential manufacturing facilities could reopen, Tesla CEO Elon Musk emailed employees telling them he intended to begin to restart manufacturing on Friday, according to Electrek, and would personally join them on the line and wouldn't require anyone who felt uncomfortable to return. However, Tesla was then informed by the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency that it would have to wait until it approved the return-to-work plan to restart production.

The county responded Monday in a statement, "We have notified Tesla that they can only maintain Minimum Basic Operations until we have an approved plan that can be implemented in accordance with the local public health order. We are addressing this matter using the same phased approach we use for other businesses which have violated the order in the past, and we hope that Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures."

The statement continued, "We are actively communicating our feedback and understand Tesla will submit a site-specific plan later today."


Tesla published a detailed outline of the safety measures it planned to institute on its blog, which was based on the reopening plan for its Shanghai, China, factory on Saturday and also filed a complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief against the county.

Under the county restrictions, Tesla is allowed a certain level of staffing to handle maintenance, inventory and payroll, and it wasn’t clear if any manufacturing was taking place on Monday.

Following the initiation of the lawsuit, and his threat to move Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters and all future projects to "Texas/Nevada," Musk received supportive messages from the the mayors of Palo Alto and Fremont and Bay Area Council, while California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez from San Diego tweeted “F--- Elon Musk,” in response to the news.


This story has been updated with new comment from Alameda County