The New York Stock Exchange is set to resume floor trading at 9:30 a.m. ET today following a more-than-two-month closure in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
As states and localities loosen lockdown restrictions, the Big Board’s physical trading floor is prepared to reopen — albeit with new safety measures. The area is now outfitted with plexiglass barriers to separate traders, and only a quarter of the usual number of people on the floor are allowed at one time. Masks are also required of the traders, who have been advised to avoid public transportation.
“This moment comes as we begin working together across America to restart our economy,” president Stacey Cunningham said in a statement posted on the stock exchange’s website. “We are starting cautiously, with new safety measures to limit the strain on the health-care system and the risk to those who work beneath our roof.”
After two employees tested positive for COVID-19, the NYSE’s trading floor was shuttered in mid-March. (The coronavirus has led to more than 1.66 million infections in the United States and at least 98,200 deaths.) It switched to a fully electronic trading system but operated under normal hours without interruption.
The NYSE had temporarily shuttered during other crises, such as the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, but March’s closure marked the first time it continued to trade electronically while the physical trading floor was shut down.
The announcement comes as an increasing number of regions in the U.S. are reopening stores, offices and other nonessential businesses. Millions of Americans are still instructed to work remotely, and many continue to avoid public spaces amid fears of a potential second wave of the outbreak.