Elon Musk hasn’t been arrested, as production continues at Tesla without California county’s permission

Elon Musk remained a free man on Tuesday afternoon, despite violating shelter-in-place orders by reopening Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., factory without permission from Alameda County, where the facility is located.

Musk tweeted on Monday that production had restarted, saying: “I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”

Tesla's employee parking lot was crowded on Monday.

Tesla’s employee parking lot was crowded on Monday.

The county health department said Monday that Tesla had gone beyond the minimum allowed operations, which opened Musk up to a potential misdemeanor charge and either 90 days in jail or a fine of $1,000 per day. However, the Fremont Police Department, which would be the agency to enforce the law, told KGO News it had no intention of arresting Musk on Tuesday.

Musk received a message of encouragement on Tuesday from President Trump, who tweeted: “California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!”

Musk thanked Trump and responded to a follower who chided him for agreeing with the president, writing: “Those who always disagree have a closed mind … but, by their very nature, that won’t sink in (sigh).”

The factory is free to reopen under California law, but Gov. Gavin Newsom has allowed local authorities to supersede the state with their own rules. The Alameda County Public Health Department said Monday it was in communication with Tesla but had not yet approved a return-to-work plan. Tesla has sued the county in an effort to remove the restrictions.


Not everyone at Tesla is happy with being back to work, however. One employee voiced his concern to KTVU on Monday that the coronavirus prevention guidelines in place seemed inefficient, while another told WGO on Tuesday that she’s concerned for her safety and that it’s hard to social distance in her job on the assembly line.

“Do you care about the people around you?” the woman who identified herself as “Tina” rhetorically asked Musk. “You just want them [employees] to go, go, go. [It’s] as if, in a sense, we’re just robots to him. If one breaks — ‘I can get me a new one or I can fix them.'”

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