On Saturday (May 9), Tesla Co-Founder and CEO Elon Musk said that he planned to "immediately" move Tesla's headquarters, which is currently in Palo Alto, California to either Texas or Nevada.
Tesla has two main factories: one in Fremont (Alameda County), California and one in Shanghai, China.
According to a report published by CNBC on May 8, "Tesla resisted and debated local authorities when they first implemented Covid-19 restrictions in March", and it "wound down to minimum basic operations there on March 24."
Tesla planned to bring workers back to production lines at the Fremont factory on April 29, but had to cancel these plans after the Alameda County Public Health department decided to extend its "Shelter in Place Order" in order to "reduce the spread of COVID-19." This order is effective until May 31.
Last Friday (April 29), after weeks of "minimum basic operations", Musk wanted to restart operations at this plant; however, local authorities decided on this day that even though the state of California had relaxed its lockdown measures, the stricter local orders should prevail.
With regard to Tesla's factory, Erica Pan, interim health officer for the Alameda County Public Health Department said:
"We have not given the green light. We have been working with them looking at some of their safety plans. But no, we have not said that it is appropriate to move forward."
CNBC says that "a public information officer" for the Alameda County Public Health Department provided further details via a statement:
“We have informed Tesla of all of the conditions that must exist for phasing in the safe reopening of various sectors of the economy and the community.
"All businesses within the County must comply with the May 4th Health Officer Order and if a business does not meet the limited criteria stated in that Order to reopen, then they are out of compliance.
“Tesla has been informed that they do not meet those criteria and must not reopen.
"We welcome Tesla’s proactive work on a reopening plan so that once they fit the criteria to reopen, they can do so in a way that protects their employees and the community at large.”
Then, yesterday, the "Third Row Tesla Podcast" tweeted about this decision by the Alameda County Public Health Department:
So apparently Alameda county doesn’t think Tesla should reopen until June 1— Third Row Tesla Podcast (@thirdrowtesla) May 9, 2020
Musk replied to the above tweet, saying that Tesla would be "filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately":
Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately. The unelected & ignorant “Interim Health Officer” of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
Musk then went one step further, saying that Tesla, which is the only car manufacturer in California, would be moving its headquarters from Palo Alto, California to either Texas or Nevada, and that if it was not treated better in the future, it would move its factory out of California also:
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 went on to compliment San Joaquin County:
San Joaquin County, right next door to Alameda, has been sensible & reasonable, whereas Alameda has been irrational & detached from reality. Our castings foundry and other faculties in San Joaquin have been working 24/7 this entire time with no ill effects. Same with Giga Nevada.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020
It looks like Musk was not kidding about the lawsuit because it appears that Tesla has already filed a complaint (Case Number: 4:20-CV-03186) against Alameda County -- for injunctive and declaratory relief -- at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California:
I’m not messing around. Absurd & medically irrational behavior in violation of constitutional civil liberties, moreover by *unelected* county officials with no accountability, needs to stop.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020