Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk on Monday said production was resuming at the company's primary vehicle factory in California and asked to be the only one arrested as he defied local officials who said the plant should remain closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The dispute comes as states and cities around the United States are experimenting with ways to safely reopen their economies after the virus outbreak shuttered businesses and forced tens of millions of Americans out of work.
Musk over the weekend threatened to leave California for Texas or Nevada over the fight. His move has highlighted the competition for jobs and ignited a rush to woo the billionaire executive by states that have reopened their economies more quickly in response to encouragement from U.S. President Donald Trump.
In an email on Monday, Tesla referred to an order on Thursday by California's governor allowing manufacturers to resume operations and said that as of Sunday, previously furloughed employees were back to their regular employment status.
"We're happy to get back to work and have implemented very detailed plans to help you keep safe as you return," according to the email seen by Reuters and titled "Furlough Has Ended And We Are Back To Work in Production!"
Musk in a tweet said production was resuming on Monday, adding that he would join workers on the assembly line. "If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me," he wrote.