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Report: Houston Billionaire Fertitta furloughs 40,000 workers

"This is very hard on a lot of working families but we have to survive or there is no company,” Fertitta told Bloomberg News.

HOUSTON — Tilman Fertitta, one of Houston’s most famous billionaires, says he had to temporarily lay off 40,000 workers at his casino, hotel and restaurant businesses due to the coronavirus shut-down, reports Bloomberg News.

The Landry’s restaurants, Golden Nugget and Houston Rockets owner wants authorities to allow his businesses to reopen at a limited capacity in the next couple of weeks.

“I think what we are doing with the shut-down is good but in a few weeks people will need to be around people,” Fertitta told Bloomberg. “Otherwise you are going to go into an economic crisis that is going to take us years to dig ourselves out of.”

The 40,000 layoffs equal about 70% of his company’s employees.

Fertitta also told Bloomberg he is confident his companies have enough cash to last through the COVID-19 crisis.

For now, Fertitta says most of his restaurants that haven’t closed are limited to takeout business, which equals only a very small percentage of the usual income.

“We are doing basically no business,” Fertitta said. “I want to hire every employee back. This is very hard on a lot of working families but we have to survive or there is no company.”

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