Tesla’s auto plant in Fremont, California, began preparations for restarting production on Monday, despite a local government ban. CEO Elon Musk is prepared to go to prison for it.
Factories may be slowly reopening in California, but the board of Alameda County, the region where the factory is located, has decided to open only essential businesses until the end of May; Tesla is not included in that.
However, the brand relies on the fact that the generation of energy is allowed and that the construction of electric cars is covered by federal regulations. Tesla also points out that Alameda Country itself includes energy generation among the activities that are allowed again.
On Monday, all Tesla employees received an email saying that everyone who was sent on compulsory leave due to the lockdown is officially back in service. “We are happy to return to work and have taken very detailed measures to ensure your safety.” About ten thousand people work in the factory in Fremont.
In a tweet, Musk said on Monday that he will be present at the factory. “If anyone needs to be arrested, I’ll ask if I can be that.”
Alameda County officials informed Tesla on Monday that the plant should not be opened before the safety measures are approved by them. As long as that has not happened, the region hopes that Tesla will adhere to the existing regulation, so that no action is required.
The Alameda County lockdown ordinance states that violations can result in fines and / or imprisonment. A spokesman says the police will enforce that ordinance if necessary.
Last weekend, Musk threatened to relocate the Fremont auto factory and headquarters in Palo Alto, California, to Texas or Nevada. In his view, the corona measures “run counter to those of the governor, the president, constitutional freedoms and common sense”.
Musk is a staunch opponent of the corona measures. In late April, he called the lockdown a “serious risk” for the company.
He was also critical of lockdowns in general: “To say that people should not leave their homes and that they are arrested if they do is fascist. This is not democratic, this is not freedom. Give people their goddamn freedom back!”