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

March 18, 2020

Joe Gawronski said concerns about the coronavirus outbreak hit home on March 13.

“Our attitude has changed markedly since Friday,” he said of his family’s reaction to the viral outbreak causing the disease COVID-19.

The president of New York brokerage firm Rosenblatt Securities lives in Summit, N.J., a suburb a little more than 20 miles west of the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan, and his children’s school district announced on March 12 that it would be closing until at least April 6 as more than two dozen confirmed cases of the pandemic virus cropped up in the Garden State.

After a trader and an NYSE worker tested positive for the coronavirus, the exchange said late Wednesday that it was moving to fully electronic trading beginning Monday.

Gawronski recalled that things hadn’t change much immediately after the school closure; he even allowed one of his kids to have a sleepover on Friday, but over the subsequent days things changed starkly.

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