Business & Economy

California county orders closure of Tesla plant

Washington, May 12 (efe-epa).- California’s Alameda County on Tuesday ordered automanufacturer Tesla to halt production at its plant in Fremont after company founder Elon Musk ignored local authorities’ orders to temporarily cease operations there.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that county authorities sent a written order to factory officials to cease production.

On Monday, Musk – who had characterized as “fascist” the quarantine orders issued by US authorities to limit the spread of the coronavirus – instructed the factory to reopen and declared on Twitter that he was ready to be arrested for violating the county’s ban on the plant’s activities.

Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom had announced that he would allow manufacturers in certain parts of the state resume operations starting May 8, adding that local authorities could keep stricter measures in place if they deemed that to be appropriate.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday took Musk’s side in the matter, posting a message on Twitter saying that “California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!”

Musk responded to Trump’s tweet by saying “Thank you!” and adding that it is not a normal thing for a California governor and the President Trump to be in agreement on something.

Also on Twitter, Musk said that work at the plant on Monday had been “Great,” after sending the approximately 10,000 employees there – who have been out of work since the plant was shut down on March 23 – an e-mail message of encouragement saying “Just wanted to send you a note of appreciation for working hard to make Tesla successful. It is so cool seeing the factory come back to life and you are making it happen!!”

In recent hours, Musk has downplayed the risk of infection and death from Covid-19 and has increased his protest against Alameda County authorities.

On Monday, the 48-year-old billionaire said on Twitter that “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.”

On Saturday, Musk had first said on Twitter that he would move the company’s research center out of California although later he erased that tweet and posted a new one threatening to move Tesla’s headquarters outside the state – to Nevada or Texas – due to the restrictions put in place to try and halt the spread of the virus.


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