Tesla CEO Elon Musk has reportedly reopened his company’s production plant in California in defiance of local orders aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
In a statement on Twitter Monday, Musk said that production had restarted “against Alameda County rules” before offering himself up for arrest.
“I will be on the line with everyone else,” the entrepreneur said. “If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”
The statement comes just two days after Tesla announced a federal lawsuit against the county where Tesla’s Fremont factory is located. Musk has argued that Alameda County’s stay-at-home order is unconstitutional.
The billionaire also threatened to move Tesla’s headquarters to either Texas or Nevada in protest of his company’s closure.
“If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen [sp] on how Tesla is treated in the future,” Musk said. “Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.”
Musk’s threat appear to have caught the attention of Hidalgo County, the 8th largest county in Texas.
In an open letter to Musk, Hidalgo County pointed to itself as an ideal location for Tesla’s future headquarters.
“I want to reach out to you to let you know that Hidalgo County, Texas is available to immediately accommodate you and Tesla Motors,” the letter says.
Although Musk has stated that Alameda County is “acting contrary” to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the politician on Monday noted that reopening efforts have been placed in the hands of local officials.
“Again, it’s county-led enforcement,” Newsom said before praising Musk and Tesla.
Alameda County’s Public Health Department, according to the Verge, had previously issued a statement noting that it was waiting for Tesla to submit a 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.”
Alameda County supervisor Scott Haggerty had also stated over the weekend that a potential agreement may have seen Tesla reopen next week, but that Musk announced the lawsuit instead.
“We were working on a lot of policies and procedures to help operate that plant and quite frankly, I think Tesla did a pretty good job, and that’s why I had it to the point where on May 18, Tesla would have opened,” Haggerty said. “I know Elon knew that. But he wanted it this week.”
It remains to be seen whether Musk will actually be arrested or whether Tesla will relocate anytime soon.