Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

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The New York Stock Exchange said Friday it will begin allowing more traders and employees back onto its famed trading floor in lower Manhattan based on rising vaccination rates.

Officials at the Big Board said that beginning Monday they will allow fully vaccinated traders to remove face coverings at their desks inside its iconic trading pit located at 11 Wall St., which got shut down last March amid a coronavirus outbreak and was reopened two months later under tight restrictions.

If all staff at a trading desk are vaccinated, the firm will be allowed to increase its headcount. Everyone will still be required, however, to social distance and wear a mask when walking around the floor, NYSE said.

The Big Board — which for nearly a year has been imposing temperature checks for all employees and visitors to the trading floor — also said in a Friday memo to staff that media personnel and organizations also will be allowed to return.

NYSE CEO Stacey Cunningham told CNBC Friday that the exchange would not mandate vaccines but were hoping to incentivize traders and staff to get a jab. Cunningham added it was unclear how many more employees would return but said the exchange recently has been operating at 50 percent capacity.

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange is set to see more people as officials relax rules for traders vaccinated against COVID-19.
REUTERS

The push to reopen the floor comes just days after the only other US exchange with a trading pit, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, said it was closing its floor for good. NYSE’s move is seen by some insiders as a way to affirm the value a physical trading floor brings.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence this statement is coming days after the CME is closing their floor permanently,” Managing Director at TJM investments Tim Anderson told The Post. “The NYSE statement is timed to quash rumors that they’re shutting the floor.”

The NYSE completely shuttered the floor at the height of the COVID outbreak last March and April, but has allowed a small number of guests since May to ring the opening and closing bell as well as a limited number of traders on the floor.

“We’ll still have protocols… but we can start to ease off on some of the restrictions that we’ve had in place since we reopened,” Cunningham told CNBC.

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