Tesla’s Fremont factory has resumed operations; no arrests have been made.
On Monday May 11 Elon Musk announced that Tesla has reopened its plant in Fremont in defiance of Alameda County’s coronavirus shelter-at-home orders. Musk recognized the legal ramifications of such a decision and in a tweet asked that only he be arrested in case the legal authorities raid the factory. Under California state law, any individual or corporation operating in violation of health orders may receive a fine of up to $1,000 a day or up to 90 days in jail.
Alameda County responds by issuing a press release.
Meanwhile, Information officer for the Alameda County Public Health Department Neetu Balram issued a statement whereby it said that the authorities are working with Tesla “toward an agreed upon safety plan for reopening beyond Minimum Basic Operations”.
Based on that press release, it seems that raiding and arresting Tesla employees or Elon Musk himself is off the table and protracted negotiations between the two entities are set to begin.
Donald Trump defends Tesla’s decision to re-open Fremont Factory:
It seems that Tesla’s defiance of Alameda County’s orders has received a huge, and unlikely backer in President Donald Trump. In a tweet posted on May 12, the U.S. President voiced his opinion over the conundrum surrounding the Fremont factory, and actually supported Elon Musk’s decision to re-open it. The Tesla CEO replied by tweeting a simple “Thank You!”.
Over the years, the Tesla CEO’s rapport with Trump was not smooth-sailing.
By “unlikely backer” we do not refer to Trump’s bid to re-open America’s economy in the middle of a pandemic. We meant that the two men have had a testy relationship over the years. Prior to Trump winning the 2016 Presidential Election, Musk stated in a CNBC interview that the then-Republican candidate is not the right person to lead the country, and he quote-unquote “doesn’t seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States”.
Despite that statement, Musk accepted an invitation to participate in two business advisory councils to advise President. However, after Trump opted to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, Musk subsequently resigned from the councils, stating in a tweet that “Climate change is real”.
In light of all the information above, will Elon Musk’s defiance of Alameda County’s rules pay-off? What will be the final outcome? We shall find out soon enough!