President Donald Trump said during a Fox News town hall on Tuesday that he wanted to get the economy reopened by Easter.
“I’d love to have it open by Easter,” Trump said, setting a date for reopening the country for the first time.
Easter is on April 12.
“I would love to have the country opened up and rearing to go by Easter,” he repeated.
“That would be a great American resurrection,” Fox News moderator Bill Hemer replied.
The president has promised to listen to his doctors and advisers on loosening restrictions set by the government to fight the coronavirus pandemic, but has said would ultimately make the final decision.
Trump appeared upbeat during the event, pleased that the stock market rose over 1,600 points on Tuesday.
He said he looked forward to the day that Americans could go to work, noting that a massive economic depression had its own death toll.
“We can socially distance ourselves and go to work, and you’ll have to work a little bit harder,” Trump said. “You can clean your hands five times as more as you used to, you don’t have to shake hands anymore with people.”
Trump said again that he wanted the economy reopened in weeks, not months and suggested that the United States would be ready.
“It’s not built to shut down,” he said. “Our people are full of vim and vigor and energy. They don’t want to be locked in a house or an apartment or some space.”
The president said that putting restrictions on Americans last week was “one of the most difficult decisions that he ever made.”
“You’re basically turning off the country,” he said, adding that, “I wasn’t happy about it, and I also knew I had to do it.”
Trump said that the economic shutdown was “painful” and “destabilizing” but that it would soon be time for Americans to return to their lives.
“We have to go back to work, much sooner than people thought, and people can go back to work and they can also practice good judgment,” he said.
Dr. Deborah Birx said during the town hall that she would continue looking at the data, and urged Americans to continue following the restrictions set by the Centers for Disease Control.