DALLAS, Texas — As Texas prepares to partially allow businesses to reopen on Friday, self-made billionaire and NBA owner Mark Cuban says the state may be moving too fast.
Cuban, an entrepreneur, investor, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks since 2000, continues to be influential even in quarantine.
Right now, he has a direct line to President Donald Trump's ear. He recently joined Trump's advisory team that's focused on reopening the economy.
The group has been titled by the White House as the Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups. It includes more than 50 executives along with leaders from defense, financial services, and agricultural industries.
Union leaders, professional sports owners, and think tank operatives are also involved.
Cuban is rubbing shoulders with the likes of Apple CEO Tim Cook, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
It's an interesting situation to be in. Cuban has been critical of Trump in the past but didn't hesitate to help.
"All I care about is helping the country do the right thing," Cuban said. "If I disagree with him over a thousand things, but then he asks me to help this country then the answer would be, 'Hell yes.'"
Cuban made it clear that he's a vocal supporter of expanding retail to-go and delivery services for businesses across the state and the U.S.
But Texas' next move is not getting Cuban's full endorsement.
On Friday, the state will allow retailers, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls to reopen as long as they don't go over 25% of their occupancy.
From a business standpoint, Cuban fears that most operations won't be able to turn a profit and will struggle to lure employees away from unemployment checks.
"I don't care if you're the smallest business," Cuban said. "If you can only do 25% of your occupancy, it's going to be more expensive and in 90% of the cases you're going to end up losing more money than you would by staying closed.
"Some people are making more from unemployment than they are getting paid at work and they don't want to go back."
Cuban also thinks that businesses will flinch when it comes to opening because of the challenges surrounding the safety of customers and employees.
"Not everyone has a car to drive to work," Cuban said. "How do people get back and forth to work without putting themselves in a position where busses and rails are crowded--putting them at risk?"
When it comes to customers, Cuban is working with a company as part of his role on Trump's advisory team to create the best safety guidelines for businesses to follow when they open back up.
"There's a thousand things to think about, you know: here's what you do with your air conditioning, your bathrooms, your employees, your utensils, do you put clothing back on the shelf or not, mask disposal, all of that," Cuban said.
Cuban said he has sent those recommendations to both the White House and Gov. Greg Abbott's office.
From a health standpoint, Cuban worries about how fast Texas is moving.
"Everyone is busting their ass to get a vaccine out, and I think it happens sooner rather than later, but it's not here yet," Cuban said. "When it comes to health, would you let your kids out? I'm certainly not going to let mine.
"There's just so many things we don't understand about this virus."
If Cuban had a choice, he would continue to-go and delivery services and gradually expand.
"So many companies are now starting to adapt to pickup and delivery and getting good at it. Their cost structure is relative to that and they're starting to make money at it. Do what works as opposed to putting people at risk," Cuban said.
One question Cuban was happy to answer surrounded basketball. When WFAA asked when he thinks basketball could come back, Cuban said only when it was safe but he remained optimistic.
"It's been brutal. March 11 seems like it was three years ago," Cuban said.
"Talking to all the guys, they are chomping at the bit."
Cuban thinks the NBA will likely resume the season, but without fans.
"We just need sports right now, North Texas is just so sports crazy and we get so fired up about our teams. We just need something to root for," he said.
So, what will the weekend look like? More crowds? More of the same? An uptick in cases?
Cuban gave an answer that he believes should highlight why Texas shouldn't forget what makes COVID-19 so scary.
"I have no idea, and that's the whole point. Neither does anyone else."
Watch the full interview below.