- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 9, 2020

Elon Musk threatened Saturday to move his electric automobile company Tesla out of California over measures imposed in response to the continuing global novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Musk, Tesla’s co-founder and chief executive officer, also said his company is “immediately” filing a lawsuit against Alameda County, where it has manufactured cars since 2010.

He made the remarks on Twitter in light of Alameda County’s top health official blocking Tesla from resuming limited operations on Friday at its factory in Fremont.

Tesla temporarily closed its Fremont plant in March to comply with measures Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19, the contagious disease the coronavirus causes.

Mr. Newsom said Thursday that some factories in California could resume operations with modifications as soon as the next day, and Tesla accordingly planned to reopen its plant.

The Democratic governor’s guidelines do not override county-level health orders, however, and Alameda County has not yet cleared Tesla to reopen its factory in Fremont.

Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately. The unelected & ignorant ‘Interim Health Officer’ of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!” Mr. Musk said on Twitter.

“Frankly, this is the final straw,” Mr. Musk tweeted. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen [sic] on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.”

Alameda County responded in a statement Saturday that its officials have been communicating directly with Tesla and working closely together to plan for the factory’s reopening.

“This has been a collaborative, good faith effort to develop and implement a safety plan that allows for reopening while protecting the health and well-being of the thousands of employees who travel to and from work at Tesla’s factory,” the statement said in part. “The team at Tesla has been responsive to our guidance and recommendations, and we look forward to coming to an agreement on an appropriate safety plan very soon.”

Tesla employed around 10,000 people at its plant in Fremont, south of San Francisco, as of 2018, and its headquarters are located in nearby Palo Alto in Silicon Valley.

The company had planned for around 30% of the factory’s workforce to return to work Friday prior to being thwarted by the county, according to an internal email cited by Reuters and other news outlets.

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