Elon Musk defies local county order by reopening Tesla factory

Musk added that if anyone is to be arrested for ignoring the county's order, it should only be him.

Tesla has recommenced production at its factory in Fremont, California, despite not being granted permission by its local county to do so.

CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that production at the Tesla factory had restarted on Monday, specifically saying the decision was in defiance of an order to remain closed.

"Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me," he said.

The restarting of the factory's production was also confirmed by Alameda County, the local country that ordered for the Fremont factory to remain closed, which said in a statement that Tesla has "opened beyond Minimum Basic Operations".

"We have notified Tesla that they can only maintain Minimum Basic Operations until we have an approved plan that can be implemented in accordance with the local public health Order. We are addressing this matter using the same phased approach we use for other businesses which have violated the Order in the past, and we hope that Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures," it said.

The county added that it is expecting to receive a site-specific plan from Tesla on Monday, which it said is required for any manufacturing within California to go ahead.

Prior to Monday, the company's Fremont factory had not been in operation since March 23 after Alameda County ordered for the factory to remain closed as part of social distancing measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the weekend, Tesla filed a lawsuit against California's Alameda County for not allowing the company to restart operations at its factory based in Fremont.

In the filing, Tesla alleges that Alameda County's shutdown order violates the fourteenth amendment and ignores California Governor Gavin Newsom's order in March that permits businesses in "16 crucial infrastructure industries", including transportation equipment manufacturing, to continue work during the outbreak.

It added that there was "no rational basis" for the factory's shutdown, and that the county allegedly contradicted its own substantive guidance of what companies are essential and allowed to operate during COVID-19.

When the lawsuit was filed to the District Court of Northern California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk threatened to move the company's headquarters to Texas or Nevada due to the company being prohibited from reopening its Fremont factory.