Elon Musk emerges winner in reopening standoff as California allows Tesla plant to run with safety guidelines
Elon Musk scored a victory late Tuesday after Alameda County officials gave in to his demands and allowed Tesla to reopen its Fremont assembly plant as long as it adhered to certain safety guidelines.
Of course, the decision came a trifle too late considering Tesla had already opened up its California plant on Tuesday. The company is now looking to ramp up production of its electric vehicles and batteries despite a statewide coronavirus lockdown, the Daily Wire reports.
While California is allowing some industrial activities to resume, some counties (like Alameda) have been allowed to restrict local business operations as much as they'd like in a bid to prevent or slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Using that power, Alameda officials had shut down the county along with Tesla's Fremont factory.
Musk announced earlier this week that he would reopen the plant defying Alameda County restrictions. In fact, he challenged officials to shut down his operations saying he would be on the shop floor with Tesla workers while reopening the plant and even offered to be arrested for putting his employees back to work.
The billionaire also threatened to relocate his headquarters and operations from California to either Nevada or Texas, both zero income tax states. This, of course, drew the attention of Gov. Gavin Newsom, as well as officials in Texas and Nevada who subsequently welcomed Musk to their states with open arms.
President Donald J. Trump also threw his support behind Musk after the tech mogul's defiant stance against state orders.
"California should let Tesla and @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely," Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
According to a report by CNN, Alameda County also gave in to Musk's demands.
“Tesla’s standoff with California’s Alameda County officials has come to an end after the county agreed to let Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, reopen,” the outlet reported Wednesday. “Alameda County gave Tesla its blessing on the condition that it maintain ‘minimum business operations’ and implement additional safety recommendations, according to a company statement that was released on Tuesday.”
While the county also set up a timeline for the company to commence operations starting next week, it is mostly meaningless considering the Fremont plant has already reopened and is currently operating at more than "minimum business."
“We will be working with the Fremont Police Department to verify Tesla is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed-upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers as they prepare for full production,” the county said in a statement.
That said, county officials did not elaborate on whether Musk would face any consequences for defying their orders -- albeit that seems highly unlikely.
According to a report by Fox Business, the victory has now strengthened Musk's resolve, who can now think of ramping up operations in other states like Nevada, where Tesla manufactures its state-of-the-art batteries.
“Tesla North American HR boss Valerie Workman shared plans for employees to return to work in Nevada in a Monday email,” Fox reported. “Those employees would be contacted within 24 hours and given a return-to-work date, Workman said.”