On Tuesday morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rang the bell to reopen the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which has been closed for two months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Press reported. People on the trading floor allegedly cheered as the governor kicked off the first day of in-person trading at the NYSE since March.
According to the Associated Press, the NYSE has implemented rules to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading throughout the building as traders and staffers return to work. Everyone on the trading floor must wear a mask and stay six feet apart. People coming to work at the Exchange have been asked to refrain from using public transportation to limit their opportunities of exposure and reduce the chances they will bring the virus into the building.
Though the trading floor is now open, CNBC reported that the Exchange won't be returning to business as usual by any means. The trading floor is only allowed to be at 25 percent capacity, which means only around 80 floor brokers will be allowed in at a time. The typically chaotic and bustling trading floor will be much less crowded for quite some time.
Though people entering the building will not be required to take a coronavirus test, they will be required to have their temperature taken. They also have to sign a legal document saying they understand the risks of coming into the building and that they will not sue the NYSE if they get sick.NYSE President Stacey Cunningham told CNBC that she does not expect the measures they've put in place will be enough to entirely prevent the virus from getting into the building.
"It's not designed to prevent an individual case. Somebody may be exposed outside of this building, show up here and we find out that they tested positive. The protections that we put in place have been designed to prevent an outbreak so that the likelihood of an infection passing around the floor is greatly diminished."
However, the NYSE has said that reopening is a necessity, even with the risks involved, CNBC reported. Floor traders are unable to fully do their jobs remotely because some of the technology they need only exists within the Exchange building. The NYSE insisted that having floor traders present in the building regulates prices of the market and that businesses were at risk of closing permanently if the floor didn't reopen.
Cunningham predicted the partial reopening would remain in effect until at least June.