Tesla’s early reopening in the California Bay area during the coronavirus pandemic is still underway locally, but California attorney general Xavier Becerra said he was “ready to take action” on violations of the state orders.
“The governor has issued certain statements, and where there is discretion, local authorities, county officials, have the opportunity to implement what they see fit for their county,” Becerra said in a statement. interview with CNBC “Squawk Alley” Wednesday. . “In this case, the conversation continues between Tesla and the county. But at the state level, we are ready to apply if we find that someone violates state orders issued by the governor.”
Tesla shares fell about 3% Wednesday afternoon.
The comments come as Alameda County officials appear to be nearing an agreement with Tesla over its reopening plans, but questions remain as to whether the company’s protocols will meet government standards. Late Tuesday evening local time, the Alameda County public health department released a statement saying it had reviewed the Tesla plant’s reopening plan and “held fruitful discussions” with its officials.
“If Tesla’s prevention and control plan includes these updates, and public health indicators remain stable or improve, we have agreed that Tesla may start increasing its minimum business operations this week with a view to a possible reopening as early as next week, “the department said in the statement, adding that it would work with the Fremont Police Department to make sure Tesla adheres to worker safety procedures like social distress.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk continued to reopen the Fremont, California plant before the talks, while the state remains under home stay order. Tesla has scheduled shifts for employees to return to the plant starting this week and local television crews captured images of employee cars enter the car park on Monday.
As news of Tesla’s plans to reopen spread on Friday, officials in Alameda County said they “did not give Tesla the green light to reopen.” Over the weekend, Musk threatened to move Tesla’s head office out of California and sued the county for enforcing the state ordinance.
Alameda County had come into conflict with Tesla at the start of the home stay order when the company attempted to claim essential service status to stay open. County officials denied the request.
Even California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom said he was unaware of Tesla’s reopening at his press conference on Monday. He said he would need more details on the situation before commenting further.
Musk said in a tweet Monday that he would take responsibility for the reopening if a legal deadlock ensued. Musk previously called the home stay orders “fascist” when Tesla last called on the results.
“I will be online with everyone,” Musk tweeted. “If someone is arrested, I ask that it be only me.”
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