WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told business leaders in Williamson County that future COVID-19 legislation by the U.S. Congress will aim to protect businesses that choose to reopen from potential liability related to the virus.

Cornyn participated in a virtual town hall with the Round Rock, Cedar Park and Georgetown Chambers of Commerce on Thursday in which he said that businesses must be able to reopen safely with so many people out of work.

More than 1.9 million Texans have filed claims for unemployment benefits in the past six weeks, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

“We have to find a way to both defeat the virus and to get our economy back, hopefully, by the third quarter of this year,” Cornyn said.

A recent poll of Williamson County business leaders found that 69% believe it is safe for employees and customers to return to normal under a phased approach. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen the state economy in phases begins Friday.

Cornyn said he’s still weighing whether additional federal funds will be necessary to support small businesses and communities fighting to survive amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He invited citizens and business leaders to reach out to his office if they need help.

“If there’s more help that’s needed, I’m certainly open to that,” Cornyn said.