Galveston-born billionaire Tilman Fertitta has temporarily laid off 40,000 employees across his Landry’s Inc. business empire, according to business wire service Bloomberg.

The furlough accounts for about 70 percent of the employees who work at Fertitta’s restaurants, hotels and casinos, according to the report.

Fertitta didn’t criticize efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, although such measures as social distancing and government restrictions have staggered the hospitality industry.

“I think what we are doing with the shutdown 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 furloughs could last “a few weeks,” according to the report.

Fertitta has sizable holdings in Galveston County, including the Brick House Tavern & Tap, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Fish Tales, Joe’s Crab Shack, the Saltgrass Steakhouse and the Rainforest Cafe. He also owns the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, the Kemah Boardwalk and the San Luis Resort. Keeping properties open during the crisis has cost Fertitta millions of dollars in cash a day, he said.

“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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(9) comments

Rick Altemose

I dreamt that Mr. Fertitta decided to do what some local business owners are doing - keep their workers on the payroll as long as they can, even though business has dried up. In my dream, he continued paying the 40,000 workers he just laid off $15 an hour, and he did this for a month. If my calculator is correct, this would set him back about $100 million. His net worth is 4.4 billion, which means that his generous gesture would cost him less than a quarter of 1 per cent of his worth- he would still have about 4.3 billion left. But in the real world this is way too much to expect - if we want a more equal nation, we are going to have to make some serious changes to our political/economic system, not rely on the generosity of billionaires.

Bailey Jones

I don't disagree with your sentiment, but I'll just point out that $4.4B doesn't mean $4.4B sitting in a bank account. It may be simply the equity of all his restaurants and attractions - not easily converted into cash.

Tom Marshall

I agree Rick, spot on. Nobody needs that much money, I won't spend another dime on any place that he owns from now.

Dan Freeman

"There are too many people in the world who just sit and watch their money pile up, that is very hard for me to understand." Henning Mankell

Jim Forsythe

Before you are too hard on Tilman Fertitta, are other billionaire's doing the same or worse. Of the 585 U,S, billionaires, are they doing the same or are they paying employees? What is Trump doing about the people that work for him?

The world’s richest man, who owns Amazon tries to get his employees to take responsibility for his workers well being.

"Whole Foods CEO John Mackey explained that one of the options available to workers was for them to “donate” their “paid time off” (pto) days to a pool that other workers could draw from. “Whole Foods is owned by Amazon whose CEO and biggest shareholder is the world’s richest man"

Tilman Fertitta's net worth is about the same as Richard Branson’s.

“ Richard Branson’s net worth is $3.8 billion/ The following is what said about people that work for him.“The owner or partial owner of Virgin airlines has suggested they take 8 weeks of unpaid leave

Allison Buchtien

Google Marc Cuban the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and see what a real business owner is doing for employees who are out of work because of COVID-19.

Robert Jackson

You can tell who here understands real wealth and who doesn't. Landrys Inc. doesn't have $4.4 Billion sitting in a bank somewhere, I would doubt they even have $100 Million sitting in a bank. Most of their assets are in real estate and equipment.

Jarvis Buckley

Robert , Tillman has a hundred million dollar home in Houston. 35 million dollar yatch.

Carol Ann Cowan

Is it necessary to officially lay off staff for them to be able to apply for unemployment benefits, or for other benefits in the bill before Congress right now?

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