(Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) can take additional steps ahead of a potential reopening of its California assembly plant as soon as Monday after Chief Executive Elon Musk had vowed to defy authorities and won the backing of President Donald Trump, officials said.
In a tweet posted around midnight, Alameda County said that following talks with Tesla it agreed that the electric carmaker can take steps “in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week.”
Tesla did not immediately comment Wednesday but around the same time the county issued its statement, Musk tweeted: “Life should be lived.”
Tesla’s sole U.S. electric vehicle assembly plant is in Fremont, California, which is in Alameda County.
The county said it would work with police in Fremont “to verify Tesla is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers as they prepare for full production.”
On Monday, Musk said production was resuming in Fremont, defying an order to stay closed and saying if anyone had to be arrested, it should be him.
On Tuesday, Musk won Trump’s backing. “California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Tesla shares were up in premarket trading Wednesday 2.1% at $826.00.
On Tuesday, employee-parking lots at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California were packed with cars. Trucks could be seen driving in and out of the factory grounds.
At the Fremont factory’s outbound logistics parking lot, where only a dozen Tesla cars were parked last week, hundreds of Tesla vehicles were seen on Tuesday.
The company had sued Alameda County challenging its decision that the plant should stay closed.
A county health official on Friday said the county had asked all manufacturers, including Tesla, to delay operations by at least another week to monitor infection and hospitalization rates.
Tesla on Saturday released a plan to keep workers returning to the factory safe.
The measures, which include temperature screenings, the installation of barriers to separate work areas and protective equipment for workers, are similar to those set up by Detroit-based automakers General Motors (GM.N), Ford (F.N) and Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI) (FCAU.N). Those automakers are set to resume at most U.S. auto plants starting Monday.
Trump is eager for the U.S. economy to reopen and for Americans to return to work.
Musk over the weekend threatened to leave California for Texas or Nevada over his factory’s closure. 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 Trump.
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