Skip to main content

Elon Musk dares authorities to arrest him after reopening Tesla factory

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that the company’s factory in Fremont, California, had reopened on Monday — and said he was willing to be arrested for it.

Musk said the factory was opening “against Alameda County rules.”

“I will be on the line with everyone else,” he wrote. “If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”

The announcement was the latest in an increasingly heated exchange between the eccentric CEO and public health officials. The drama culminated in Musk suing the county and vowing to leave the state after authorities said the factory couldn’t reopen.

Tesla reportedly told furloughed employees to return to work, according to an internal email seen by Reuters. Local news outlets reported seeing full parking lots at the facility.

Alameda Sheriff Sergeant Ray Kelly told Digital Trends that there hadn’t been any discussion of using enforcement to shut down the factory.

“We haven’t had that conversation,” he said.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, the Alameda County Health Services Agency said that the Tesla factory cannot go beyond “Minimum Basic Operations.”

“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,” the department said.

“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.

#pressrelease – Public Health Updated Statement on Tesla @elonmusk @Tesla @FremontPD @Dare2BWell

— Alameda County Sheriff (@ACSOSheriffs) May 11, 2020

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. We will update this story when we hear back.

At the end of March, Musk floated re-opening the factory in defiance of California’s strict shelter-in-place orders, which are still active due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In response, Alameda County officials deemed that the factory was a “non-essential business” and said that it does not qualify for an exemption to the orders. Musk fired back on Twitter over the weekend, saying that he would sue Alameda County and move car production to either Texas or Nevada if he was not allowed to work in California.

Tesla also issued 30 pages of guidelines to its employees on how to maintain proper social distance while at work and prevent the spread of the virus.

The guidelines said that anyone who felt sick should stay home, but the company did not address whether employees who stayed home would be given sick pay.

In a statement, Tesla framed the issue as one of economics, saying their personnel “rely on us and have been out of work for weeks.” Tesla also argued that vehicle manufacturing would qualify as “national critical infrastructure,” in defiance of what California has ruled.

Editors' Recommendations

Maya Shwayder
I'm a multimedia journalist currently based in New England. I previously worked for DW News/Deutsche Welle as an anchor and…
Musk sets Cyber Rodeo event for Tesla’s Giga Texas opening
Elon Musk.

Almost two years after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Austin, Texas, as the site for a new gigafactory, the facility is all set for a grand opening event on Thursday, April 7.

The electric-car maker has started sending out invitations to the bash, dubbed “Cyber Rodeo,” while Musk himself tweeted a graphic announcing it.

Read more
Elon Musk busts some moves at new Giga Berlin Tesla factory
Elon Musk at Giga Berlin in March 2022.

Elon Musk has opened Tesla’s first car factory in Europe, describing the launch of the $5.5 billion facility in Germany as another “step in the direction of a sustainable future.”

At a glitzy event at the new Giga Berlin plant on Tuesday, the Tesla chief presented 30 customers with the first all-electric Model Y vehicles to roll off the production line.

Read more
Elon Musk to hand over first Giga Berlin Tesla cars on Tuesday
elon musk teases an offbeat extra for teslas berlin factory giga

Tesla boss Elon Musk has flown to Germany to present customers with the first Model Y vehicles built at the automaker’s new Giga Berlin plant -- its first car factory in Europe.

Musk tweeted that he’ll be handing over the production cars to the new owners at a special event at the site on Tuesday, March 22.

Read more