Musk: Tesla’s California Plant to Reopen Despite Shutdown Orders

Musk moves before Federal courts consider lawsuit seeking to reopen plant.
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Elon Musk tweeted Monday he is reopening Tesla’s  (TSLA) - Get Report Fremont, Calif. plant today, in violation of county health department orders, and that he will be on the production lines.

The Tesla plant, the company’s only U.S. production facility, has been closed since the middle of March due to shelter-in-place orders designed to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. The orders were first imposed by county health officers in several San Francisco Bay Area counties, ahead of Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s move to extend the measures statewide.

Local media reports said cars and delivery vehicles have been entering the Tesla plant since Monday morning.

On the company's latest earnings call, Musk called the orders "fascist." Early on in the pandemic, he tweeted that “The coronavirus panic is dumb.”

Tesla sued Alameda County, where the plant is located, in federal court over the weekend, saying that the closure order by county health officials is superseded by state and federal rules allowing “essential” industries to operate.

See why Jim Cramer agrees with Musk.

Musk also vowed to move Tesla’s operations out of California as a result of being blocked from reopening on Friday by the county.

Musk, a multi-billionaire, has a history of public contempt for governance, having famously been fined $20 million by the SEC for tweeting plans to take Tesla private without any financing having been arranged. He has also long chafed at California probes of worker safety at the Fremont plant. 

Tesla shares fell $8.13, or 1%, to $811.29 Monday. 

Earlier this month, Musk tweeted that Tesla's stock price "is too high imo," sending shares into a short-lived tailspin. 

Musk is set to received a bonus of $700 million in stock options for achieving an average $100 billion market cap valuation for Tesla over the past six months.