Tesla Inc. sued local authorities in California on Saturday as the company pushed to reopen a factory there and CEO Elon Musk threatened to move Tesla's headquarters and future programs from the state to Texas or Nevada.
Musk has been pushing to restart Tesla's Fremont, Calif., factory after Alameda County's health department said the company must not reopen because local lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus remain in effect.
In a blog post on Saturday, Tesla said the county's position left it no choice but to take legal action to ensure Tesla and its employees can go back to work.
The company said it had worked out a thorough return-to-work plan that includes online video training for personnel, work zone partition areas, temperature screening, requirements to wear protective equipment and rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
The company said it had informed health authorities in Alameda County, where the Fremont factory is located, about its restart plans, but claimed the acting official did not return calls or emails.
Alameda County's Public Health Department, which earlier on Saturday said it had been "communicating directly and working closely with the Tesla team," did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tesla filed a lawsuit against the county in San Francisco federal court on Saturday, calling the continued restrictions a "power-grab" by the county since California's governor had said on Thursday that manufacturers in the state would be allowed to reopen.
The company said Alameda was going against the federal and California constitutions, as well as defying the governor's order, the lawsuit said.
Musk told employees on Thursday that limited production would restart at Fremont on Friday afternoon.