Elon Musk threatens to move Tesla headquarters out of California following extended shelter-in-place rules

Tesla filed suit Saturday night against Alameda County, California, after local offic...

Posted: May 10, 2020 10:17 AM
Updated: May 11, 2020 8:45 AM

Tesla filed suit Saturday night against Alameda County, California, after local officials there refused to let the company reopen its Fremont factory.

In a series of tweets earlier Saturday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also threatened to move the company's headquarters to Texas or Nevada, where shelter-in-place rules are less restrictive.

'Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately,' Musk tweeted. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

The lawsuit follows months of Musk tweeting debunked and controversial coronavirus claims — and railing against stay-at-home orders — often contrary to health officials' guidance.

The automaker had planned to allow a fraction of its factory workers to return to work by Friday, but was warned by the Alameda County Health Department in a livestreamed town hall on Friday that such a move would be violating the county's rules.

'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 Alameda Health Department responded on Saturday in a statement to CNN Business. '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.'

California Gov. Gavin Newsom had issued new guidance Thursday allowing manufacturing companies to reopen, which allowed individual counties to enforce stricter rules. Alameda County's shelter-in-place rule ends on May 31. Texas set a May 18 date for manufacturers to resume limited operations, while Nevada allowed many retailers and nonessential businesses to reopen Saturday.

'We've been working with [Tesla], but we have not given the green light,' Alameda County Health Officer Erica Pan said during Friday's town hall. 'We have not said it is appropriate to move forward.'

At least one California assemblywoman wasn't having it. Lorena Gonzalez, who represents San Diego, tweeted an obscenity at Musk.

Tesla's lawsuit, filed Saturday evening in federal court in California's Northern District, asks for a permanent injunction barring the county from enforcing its shelter-in-pace order. The company said it believed it is exempt because its operations fall within the definition of critical infrastructure.

Tesla has a battery factory, called Gigafactory 1, in Sparks, Nevada, but it has no footprint in Texas. In February, Musk took a Twitter poll asking his followers if there should be a Gigafactory in Texas. The results were 80% positive.

On Saturday, Musk also encouraged Tesla shareholders to file a class action lawsuit against the county for any money lost given that Tesla competitors in other states could resume their operations earlier. He said that Tesla should be allowed to reopen because it learned how to deal with Covid-19 through its factory in Shanghai, China, which is currently the company's only operating plant.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas tweeted Saturday, 'Come to Texas! We would welcome Tesla HQ in Texas. We love jobs & Texans very much want to open up & get back to work (while still staying safe & following sound science). We make lots of cars & trucks in Texas, and we'd love more!!'

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 416843

Reported Deaths: 32719
CountyConfirmedDeaths
New York City22596423550
Suffolk433951997
Nassau433802194
Westchester360141446
Rockland13885674
Orange11096489
Erie8626669
Monroe4790277
Dutchess4543153
Onondaga3490200
Albany2531126
Oneida2090112
Ulster203191
Sullivan148348
Niagara144998
Putnam143363
Broome106464
Schenectady103737
Rensselaer74030
Saratoga73317
Columbia52337
Madison40117
Ontario35134
Warren30033
Orleans29554
Steuben29242
Greene28918
Fulton28524
Genesee2735
St. Lawrence2624
Washington25514
Oswego2483
Wayne2473
Herkimer2464
Chautauqua2349
Tompkins2300
Chenango2116
Tioga19025
Livingston1678
Chemung1633
Cattaraugus1626
Montgomery1604
Cayuga1482
Jefferson1340
Clinton1274
Otsego1145
Wyoming1135
Delaware1044
Cortland920
Seneca863
Allegany751
Schoharie680
Essex550
Yates557
Franklin500
Lewis350
Schuyler220
Hamilton70
Unassigned00
Utica
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 67°
Oneonta
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 64°
Herkimer
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 67°
Thendara
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 67°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
Ask EPLC Sweepstakes
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
Senior Send-Off brought to you by Herkimer College
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left