'Arrest me': Elon Musk taunts cops after defying lockdown order to reopen Tesla factory in California
Elon Musk has openly defied lockdown orders and has confirmed that he would be reopening his company's car factory in Alameda County, California on Monday, May 11.
He even taunted the police to arrest him for violating the mandatory stay at home orders. On Monday afternoon he took to Twitter to say, "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."
The order has restricted the functioning of all businesses except ones that are essential. Tesla had initially protested the order but did shut down on March 23. The company had reportedly called back some of their workers on the weekend and had quietly made around a couple hundred Model Y and Model 3 vehicles, two anonymous employees revealed to The Verge.
The employees revealed that they were put in a tight spot when they were told to report to work given their employer is in a battle with local officials over reopening. One worker who decided to go in to work said, "It’s either we feed our families or go hungry at this point."
The other employee who chose to stay home shared, "I love my job personally, just tired of feeling like a chess piece,” this person said. Workers also said they wouldn’t feel safe assembling cars right now because it requires such close-quarters work. “We get lured in by the ‘Tesla Dream’ of saving the planet only to get treated so poorly that even though I love my job, I’m not willing to risk my health for him."
A spokesperson for the Fremont police said that the department was well aware of the situation but had not received any order to take any action. While speaking to the Daily News, spokeswoman Geneva Bosques said, "We enforce the order at the direction of the Health Officer. The Health Officer advised they were in communication and working with Tesla directly."
The health department released a statement on Monday afternoon where they appeared to be willing to continue to work on a deal without criminal charges.
"Today, May 11, we learned that the Tesla factory in Fremont had opened 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 statement read.
"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.
The department has been working closely with Tesla since April 30 to come up with a feasible and safe plan to improve the health screening procedures for employees. "We are actively communicating our feedback and understand Tesla will submit a site-specific plan later today as required under the State of California guidance and checklist for manufacturing issued on May 7," the department added.
"We look forward to reviewing Tesla’s plan and coming to an agreement on protocol and a timeline to reopen safely," the department continued.