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Legal Ramifications Elon Musk Could Face for Reopening Tesla Factory

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As states continue the process of reopening the country and thereby, the economy, questions around the legality of businesses bringing employees back to work are in full focus.

In the states that have opened for business, some businesses, mainly those involving essential services have been able to open others as states stage the process in phases. This poses the question, which businesses should be allowed to bring in workers first?

This particular issue was brought to life via Twitter’s favorite CEO Elon Musk. Musk took to the social media platform to voice his frustration that Tesla’s TSLA Fremont production facility, which employs 10,000 workers, has only been allowed to operate at minimum capacity despite Tesla’s efforts to devise a safety plan and its experience reopening its Gigafactory in China.

Musk also insinuated that Tesla may have been singled out as many other US automakers have been allowed to reopen. “Tesla is not an outlier, nor are we going against the grain. From the State’s very first shelter-in-place order, national critical infrastructure, including vehicle manufacturing like Tesla’s Fremont factory, was considered vital and given permission to continue operating,” Tesla said in a press release.

In a tweet Monday, Musk said that Tesla would open the Fremont facility, with or without the permission of county government officials.

A chorus including President Donald Trump and TheStreet’s own Jim Cramer has expressed support for Musk’s ambition to resume production safely.

Begging the question, what’s the precedent for deciding which businesses can and cannot reopen, and what liability does Musk or any other business owner have if they choose to defy a government mandate?

Legal analyst Rebecca Rose Woodland joins TheStreet’s Katherine Ross to break it down in the video above. 

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