New York Stock Exchange partially reopens as US COVID-19 deaths near 100,000

World Wednesday 27/May/2020 15:23 PM
By: Times News Service
New York Stock Exchange partially reopens as US COVID-19 deaths near 100,000

NEW YORK: The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) partially reopened its iconic trading floor on Tuesday after a two-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo rang the opening bell with NYSE President Stacey Cunningham.

"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," said Cunningham.

Safety measures such as wearing masks and physical distancing are required in the Exchange. People entering the building must have their temperature taken and fill in a questionnaire regarding their health conditions.

The NYSE closed its trading floor and shifted to fully electronic trading on March 23 due to the coronavirus.

The partial reopening is set to bring back only about 80 floor brokers or about 25 percent of the trading floor population.

"I look forward to the day when it is safe to welcome back the entire floor community," Cunningham said.

The reopening of the trading floor came at a time when COVID-19 infections in New York continue to trend down. Cuomo, who held Tuesday's daily briefing inside the Exchange, said the state's daily deaths of COVID-19 dropped to 73, the lowest level since the "PAUSE" order was put in place.

The state's Mid-Hudson region entered the first phase of reopening on Tuesday, with Long Island to follow on Wednesday, said Cuomo.

While monitoring the reopening process, it is time to speed up the state's infrastructure construction that should have been finished earlier, said the governor.

Projects in New York City such as the rebuilding of Penn Station and the renovation of LaGuardia Airport could be done during the lockdown, as few people are using them and the projects create jobs, he said.

Cuomo said he will be in Washington D.C. on Wednesday to meet with President Donald Trump and discuss possible federal engagement in this process.

"You have an infrastructure that's crumbling. You need to jumpstart the economy. You need to create jobs. Do it now," he said.

Still, the whole picture of the nation seems grim with total deaths approaching 100,000, and the reopening of all 50 states might lead to a second wave of infections, especially when seasonal flu comes in the fall, as health experts have warned.

During the past Memorial Day weekend, Americans flocked to beaches, and many of them did not follow social distancing guidelines or wear a mask.

Local media in various states including Florida, California and Missouri showed footages of people crowding beaches and lakeside bars. Police had to disperse some gatherings deemed unsafe under current circumstances.

Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was "very concerned" about such scenarios.

"We really want to be clear all the time that social distancing is absolutely critical. And if you can't social distance and you're outside, you must wear a mask," she said in an interview on ABC on Sunday.

By Tuesday afternoon, the United States has reported over 1.67 million COVID-19 cases and more than 98,700 deaths, still the worst-hit in the world, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.