Elon Musk Gets Trump Support In Tesla Plant Battle: Alameda County Approves Reopening Plans

Alameda County officials said Tesla can "begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week" after reviewing the carmarker's plans for its Freemont, California factory.
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Tesla Inc.  (TSLA) - Get Report shares bumped higher Wednesday after President Donald Trump came to the aid of Elon Musk as the founder and CEO of the clean-energy carmaker continues to push for the re-opening of its California production facility.

Trump urged officials to greenlight the re-opening of the Freemont, California-based plant, which employs more than 10,000 people, amid a row with Alameda County officials over safety and working conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Musk replied "thank you" to the President's Tweet, with county officials indicating shortly afterward that the plant can "augment" minimal operations immediately, with the aim of a more comprehensive re-start "as soon as next week."

"An honest day’s work spent building products or providing services of use to others is extremely honorable," Musk wrote in an email to employees that thanked them for "seeing the factory come back to life" after he defied a previous order from county officials and re-opened the group's biggest U.S.-based facility yesterday. 

"I have vastly more respect for someone who takes pride in doing a good job, whatever the profession, than some rich or famous person who does nothing useful," Musk added..

Tesla shares were marked 1.9% higher in pre-market trading Wednesday to indicate an opening bell price of $824.89 each, a move that would leave the stock with a six-month gain of around 138%.

Tesla's Fremont factory, which last year built nearly half a million vehicles, has been operating at minimal capacity since mid-March when six Bay Area counties announced a stay-home order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

At a virtual town hall event on Friday, Erica Pan, interim health officer for Alameda County's public health department, said "we have been working with [Tesla] looking at some of their safety plans. But no, we have not said that it is appropriate to move forward.”

Tesla filed a lawsuit against Alameda Count in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco the following day after it refused to consider the clean-energy carmaker an 'essential business' that could re-open under guidelines produced by Governor Gavin Newsom. 

Bay Area officials extended the stay-home order through the end of May, but are allowing some lower-risk businesses to reopen with certain restrictions, such as requiring curbside pickup only.