'Wise decision’: Billionaire Tilman Fertitta says reopening Texas will put employees back to work

HOUSTON – Houston Billionaire and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, one of 39 business leaders on the “governor’s Strike Force To Open Texas,” says reopening Texas in phases starting Friday is a “wise decision.”

“The committee put in a lot of work, the governor had a lot of people that really knew what they were doing, and he was so concerned to not make a mistake,” Fertitta said.

“What I’m most happy about is putting employees back to work!” he added. “That’s the greatest thing in the world.”

Fertitta disagreed strongly at first when officials shut down the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and other venues. He later agreed that it was the right move at the right time.

“Everybody seems to have made the right decision along the way,” Fertitta said. “And I think the governor is making the right decision today to let Texas open up this Friday.”

“But at the same time, if the governor of New York was telling me to open in New York, I would not open, and I’m the largest restaurant operator in Manhattan,” Fertitta added. “I wouldn’t want to open there.”

Letting states decide when and how to reopen is "the way it should be,” he said.

Per the order, the Landry’s owner will choose to open his restaurants on May 1 at 25% capacity while some of his other business ventures, like the Pleasure Pier and Kemah Boardwalk, will remain closed.

“We feel really good about it,” Fertitta said. “Landry’s is going to come out of this as a company totally whole, as long as nothing else crazy happens with this virus in the fall.”

Watch the full interview below: