Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed Monday that the company has restarted its California factory, a move that defied local government orders involving measures to contain the coronavirus.
In a tweet, Musk practically dared authorities to arrest him, writing that he would be on the assembly line and if anyone is taken into custody, it should be him.
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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
In another tweet, he wrote “an unelected county official illegally overrode. Also, all other auto companies in US are approved to resume. Only Tesla has been singled out. This is super messed up!”
Musk recently went on an emotional rant Wednesday against stay-at-home orders from local governments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying they are “forcibly imprisoning people” while also doing huge damage to the US economy. He called the orders “fascist.”
State law allows a fine of up to $1,000 a day or up to 90 days in jail for operating in violation of health orders. The plant in Fremont, a city of more than 230,000 people south of San Francisco, had been closed since March 23.
The restart defied orders from the Alameda County Public Health Department, which has deemed the factory a nonessential business that can’t open under virus restrictions.