Public Health Order

Assemblywoman's Message for Tesla CEO as Carmaker Threatens to Leave Calif., Sues Alameda County

The suit accuses the Alameda County Health Department of overstepping federal and state coronavirus restrictions

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San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez had some choice words for Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Saturday after the electric carmaker threatened to move its operations out of California, and filed a federal lawsuit against a Bay Area county, in a bid to reopen its North American factory.

Musk threatened to pull operations out of California and sued Alameda County officials who have stopped the company from reopening its factory in Fremont as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it has resumed operations at its factory anyway.

The suit accuses the Alameda County Health Department of overstepping federal and state coronavirus restrictions and claims Tesla factory workers are allowed to work during California's stay-at-home order because the facility is considered “critical infrastructure."

Governor Gavin Newsom has repeatedly said that counties can impose restrictions that are more stringent than state orders.

Alameda County responded to Tesla's claims saying there "has been a collaborative, good faith effort" to work with the company in its reopening plan.

Hours after Musk's tweets, San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez tweeted some choice words about Elon Musk and added:

Tesla then announced late Saturday it would resume operations at its facility in defiance of the county's order, implementing social distancing by spreading out employees and conducting on-site temperature screenings.

“Contrary to the Governor’s recent guidance and support from the City of Fremont, Alameda County is insisting we should not resume operations," the statement said. "This is not for lack of trying or transparency since we have met with and collaborated on our restart plans with the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. Unfortunately, the County Public Health Officer who is making these decisions has not returned our calls or emails."

Musk confirmed Monday that the company has restarted its California factory in violation of local government orders.

"I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me," he said.

Early Monday, the parking lot was nearly full at the massive plant, which employs 10,000 workers, and semis were driving off loaded with vehicles that may have been produced before the shutdown.

Alameda County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly said Monday that any enforcement of the order would come from Fremont police. Geneva Bosques, Fremont police spokeswoman, said officers would take action at the direction of the county Health Officer.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents California’s 80th Assembly District, located in southern San Diego County, including the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, and National City.

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