On Wednesday, the NYSE closed its trading floor after traders tested positive for coronavirus. It said it will temporarily move fully to electronic trading which would officially begin on March 23, at the open. This would be the first time the NYSE trading floor closes while electronic trading continues. With regard to this new development, the exchange said that all “trading and regulatory oversight of all NYSE listed securities will continue without interruption.”
Though the NYSE trading floors provide issuers and investors with “unique value” it is still very much able to independently run electronically “to serve all participants and we will proceed in that manner until we can reopen our trading floors to our members.” The NYSE electronic trading is powered by Intercontinental Exchange, an electronic trading group, which it acquired in 2012.
The exchange has also said that the facilities that will be closed are the NYSE American Options trading floor and NYSE equities trading floor in New York and NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco.
The traders who tested positive were stopped at the Big Board medical screening and were not allowed into the trading hall. Stacey Cunningham, president of the NYSE informed the public on the safety measures the exchange has taken in recent times to prevent the spread of the virus on the floor.
“We implemented a number of safety precautions over the past couple of weeks, and starting on Monday this week we started preemptive testing of employees and screening of anyone who came into the building,” Cunningham said. The exchange didn’t hesitate in restricting access to all those who tested positive of coronavirus. “We tested people and they were sent home and not given access to the building. A couple of those tests have come back positive,” She added.
Cunnigham further assures investors and traders that the coronavirus pandemic will not disrupt trading activities as the electronic trading was as well effective as the floor trading, and all normal trading hours will continue. 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.” She said in a statement.
The NYSE employee that was first tested positive of the coronavirus infection was last active in the exchange on Friday without accessing the trading floor. While the trader that also tested positive last visited the building on Friday, but didn’t get past the screening area but was sent home to await screening results which tested positive.