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'If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me' - Elon Musk vows to reopen Tesla's Californian factory

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has criticised the stay-at-home orders (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has criticised the stay-at-home orders (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

AP/PA Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has criticised the stay-at-home orders (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has confirmed the company has restarted its California factory in violation of local government orders.

CEO Elon Musk says Tesla is restarting production in California in defiance of a county order.

He tweeted Monday he would also join workers on the assembly line, and that quote "if anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me."

Musk's showdown highlights the challenges U.S. states face to reopen economies.

Local health officials said days earlier the plant should remain closed as lockdown measures in California are still in place.

Over the weekend, Musk threatened to leave California for Texas or Nevada and sued Alameda County, where the factory lies.

In a Monday email from Tesla seen by Reuters, the company said it was resuming production, and worker furloughs would end on Sunday (May 10), thanks to an order last week from California Governor Gavin Newsom allowing manufacturers to resume operations.

However, local officials say they've told Tesla it can't operate without a county-approved plan.

On Monday, Newsom said he spoke to Musk several days ago and that Musk's concerns pushed California to start its phased restart of factories.

"I have great reverence for their technology, for their innovative spirit, for their leadership. And I have great expectations that we can work through at the county-level the issue with this particular county and this particular company in the next number of days."

In its lawsuit, Tesla alleges Alameda county has violated California's constitution by defying Newsom's orders to allow manufacturers to reopen.

Since Musk's threat to leave California Texas, Georgia, Nevada and others have all reached out to Musk on Twitter encouraging him to relocate to their state.

A Texas official invited the billionaire CEO for a visit citing its quote "pro-business governor" and no longer having a shelter-at-home mandate.

Reuters