NYSE to close trading floor after employee, trader test positive for coronavirus

The Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. said late Wednesday that the New York Stock Exchange will temporarily close floor trading and move to fully electronic trading on Monday after a trader and a NYSE employee tested positive for COVID-19.

“Trading and regulatory oversight of all NYSE-listed securities will continue without interruption,” the exchange operator said.

The NYSE equities trading floor in New York, the NYSE options trading floor in New York, and the NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco are to close, Intercontinental Exchange ICE, -8.74% said.

The move is a “precautionary step to protect the health and well-being of employees and the floor community in response to COVID-19,” the company said. While the NYSE has closed before, most recently for superstorm Sandy in 2012, this is the first time the floor will be closed while electronic trading is going on.

Read: Why the NYSE fought to keep its iconic trading floor open as coronavirus pandemic closed in

“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.

Later, the NYSE confirmed that a trader and an employee had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Both were screened at a security checkpoint and not permitted to enter the building this week. The NYSE employee was last in the exchange building at the heart of Wall Street on Friday, and did not access the trading floor, the company said. The trader also was last at the building on Friday, and sent home on Monday to await results without entering the building past the screening area, the company said.

A spokesman for Intercontinental Exchange told the Associated Press that the closure would take effect Monday “to offer participants a few days to be ready for the transition to fully electronic trading.”

While the NYSE trading floor used to hold thousands of brokers and traders, only about 250 traders are typically on these floor these days, according to the New York Post.