Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) could move out of Alameda County if its CEO, Elon Musk, has his way. In a number of tweets on May 9, 2020, Musk expressed his frustration with the shelter-in-place ordinance of Alameda County. According to Musk, the measures put in place by the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) are anti-business. Accordingly, Tesla is suing Alameda County “immediately.”
On March 16, 2020, the ACPHD instituted orders asking all persons within the county to “shelter at their place of residence.” The order allows people only to “leave to provide or receive certain essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential businesses and governmental services.” Failure to abide by the order attracts a fine or imprisonment. This means that factory workers at Tesla’s plant cannot go to work.
It is Musk versus ACPHD
To Musk, the shelter-in-place order subjects Tesla to unnecessary delays of manufacturing operations. Further fueling Musk’s anger is that California Governor Gavin Newsom has given the greenlight for reopening of the state. Even President Donald Trump is for states opening up. With the Tesla corporate headquarters stationed in Alameda County, the company faces immense operational difficulties were it to open up.
According to Musk, the ACPHD’s insistence on the shelter-in-place order contravenes the orders of both the President and the state’s Governor. In addition, the order denies Californians the space to exercise their constitutional freedoms, according one of Musk’s tweets.
Musk’s virus projections are completely off
For starters, this is not the first time Elon Musk is showing frustration at how California is handing the Covid-19 pandemic. Musk and his company were reluctant to close down the factory when the shelter-in-place order went into effect in March. In April, Musk told Tesla investors in a call that state authorities were overplaying their hand in handling COVID-19 crisis. Previously, the Tesla CEO argued that governments were unnecessarily panicky in the face of the health crisis. To him, the virus would peter out by April.
Unfortunately, the latest infection and death figures in the US alone are a slap in Musk’s face. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 1.3 million infections and approximately 78,000 deaths by May 10 in the US. Globally, the infection figures top 4 million, and deaths are hovering at around 280,000.