Texas, Vermont to open some businesses Monday, Trump says

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that Texas and Vermont will allow certain businesses to reopen on Monday while still observing coronavirus-related precautions and Montana will begin lifting restrictions on Friday.

“We continue to see a number of positive signs that the virus has passed its peak,” Trump told reporters at a daily briefing.

Some state governors have warned that they will not act prematurely to reopen their economies until there is more testing for the virus, however. Business leaders have also told Trump the country needs to have widespread testing in place before their companies can return to normal operations.

Trump said “our testing is getting better and better,” but offered no concrete evidence.

He said both Republican and Democratic governors “have announced concrete steps to begin a safe and gradual phased opening.” Texas and Vermont “will allow certain business to open on Monday while still requiring appropriate social distancing precautions,” he said.

Several dozen protesters gathered in the Texas capital of Austin on Saturday, chanting “USA! USA!” and “Let us work!”

A protester holds up a sign at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, joining other protesters across the U.S. calling for the economy to be opened up despite the risk of COVID-19. (Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

Trump also said the $500 million US that the United States has been giving to the World Health Organization can be spent more efficiently elsewhere.

The president announced earlier in the week that he has directed a halt of U.S. payments to WHO pending a review of its warnings about the coronavirus and China.

He also said there should be consequences for China if the country was “knowingly” responsible for the coronavirus outbreak.

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