Coronavirus Forces New York Stock Exchange Trading Floor to Close

The New York Stock Exchange is set to close its trading floor temporarily after two employees tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the Intercontinental Exchange, which operates the NYSE, the Big Board’s physical trading floor will shut down on Monday and switch to a fully electronic trading system to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 150 people in the United States and sickened more than 8,700.

The facilities that will shutter include the NYSE equities trading floor and the NYSE American Options floor in New York, as well as the NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco. Despite the closures, all NYSE markets are confirmed to continue operating under normal trading hours without interruption.

“NYSE’s trading floors provide unique value to issuers and investors, but our markets are fully capable of operating in an all-electronic fashion to serve all participants, and we will proceed in that manner until we can re-open our trading floors to our members,” NYSE president Stacey Cunningham said in a statement yesterday. “While we are taking the precautionary step of closing the trading floors, we continue to firmly believe the markets should remain open and accessible to investors.”

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Later on Wednesday, the NYSE said it had implemented screening procedures for those who wanted to enter the building in Manhattan’s Financial District. Both employees who tested positive — one who worked on the trading floor and the other an NYSE employee — were screened on Monday and refused entry to the building.

The NYSE has temporarily shuttered during other crises, such as the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, but this marks the first time it will continue to trade electronically while the physical trading floor remains closed.

The announcement comes as an increasing number of companies have closed their corporate offices amid fears over the worsening coronavirus outbreak. Millions of workers have also been instructed to work remotely as schools, restaurants and stores temporarily shut down.

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