NYSE Mulls Plan to Close Trading Floor and Use Backup Electronic System Due to Virus

The New York Stock Exchange, trying to defend against the spread of the coronavirus, is preparing a contingency plan that includes closing the trading floor and using a backup electronic trading system, a media report says.
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The New York Stock Exchange  (ICE) - Get Report is preparing a contingency plan that includes closing the trading floor and using a backup electronic trading system, a media report says.

The plan, reported by The Wall Street Journal, could be implemented as the U.S. deals with the growing coronavirus pandemic, which is already threatening ways of life worldwide.

The exchange also sent a memo informing traders how it plans to limit the chances of the spread of coronavirus, Reuters reported.

"Given the critical work by our NYSE and NYSE American floor communities to underpin the orderly function of global markets, all of these efforts, and others, will remain ongoing until further notice," the memo said.

The Chicago exchange operator CME Group CME on Wednesday said that as of the close of business Friday it would close its trading floor in that city to defend against the spread of the coronavirus.

The NYSE has restricted outside visitors who tour the trading floor, including corporate executives and their accompanying groups who ring the opening and closing bells.

The exchange, owned by Intercontinental Exchange, also plans to suspend initial public offerings while the floor is offline, according to a notice sent to traders earlier this month that the Journal reviewed. 

The NYSE has already mandated separate entrances and eating spaces for floor traders and staff, according to the memo viewed by Reuters. The building has also intensified overnight cleaning efforts and an outside vendor will provide extra deep cleaning on weekends. 

This is the first time in more than seven years that the NYSE was forced to close its trading floor. The last time it happened was in 2012, during superstorm Sandy, which flooded Lower Manhattan.