Elon Musk said in a tweet that Tesla will move its headquarters from California to the greener pastures of Texas or Nevada. The threat stems from Musk's desire to reopen Tesla's manufacturing plant in Fremont, California, as quickly as possible, despite the fact that Alameda County, where the factory is located, is scheduled to remain under lockdown until the end of May. At present, only businesses deemed essential are allowed to open.
"Tesla has been informed that they do not meet those criteria and must not reopen," a spokeswoman for the Alameda County Public Health Department said in a statement.
Frankly, this is the final straw. 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 on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
Musk also said on Twitter that Tesla would be "filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately." He added, "The unelected & ignorant “Interim Health Officer” of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!"
Musk had told employees on Thursday that limited production would restart at Fremont on Friday afternoon. California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday that manufacturers in the state would be allowed to reopen.
An Alameda county official said on Friday that its health department has had many discussions with the company and recommended that Tesla wait at least another week to monitor infection rates and discuss safe ways to resume production.
Musk, who sparred with California officials in March over whether Tesla had to halt production at Fremont, has criticized the lockdown and stay-at-home orders, calling them a "serious risk" to U.S. business and "unconstitutional."
Material from Reuters was used in this report.