AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Texas State Capitol Saturday calling on government leaders to reopen Texas – as the state’s death toll from COVID-19 continues to grow.

People attending the “You Can’t Close America” rally ignored social distancing guidelines and could be heard chanting “let us work.”

It comes just a day after Gov. Greg Abbott announced executive orders to open state parks and some businesses as part of a phased reopening of Texas.

(Picture: Todd Bynum/KXAN)

The rally was promoted by the conspiracy-promoting website InfoWars.

Many participants held protest signs – one read “US economy dies from COVID-19”, others were in support of President Donald Trump. A group of people held signs promoting unfounded anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.

Speaking yesterday, the governor announced the creation of a statewide strike force with the aim of helping people across the state return to work and other activities.

(Picture: Todd Bynum/KXAN)

Abbott also said that all stores should be able to operate as “retail to go” starting April 24, in which businesses will be able to sell products without customers entering stores.

However, while some restrictions will be loosened, others will be enhanced. These include standards for seniors in assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

More than 18,000 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Texas. Nearly 500 have died.