Screenshot: Axios Events

The priority in reopening the NYSE trading floor was preventing a COVID-19 outbreak, Stacey Cunningham, NYSE president, told Axios' Dan Primack on Tuesday during a virtual event.

The big picture: For the first time in the exchange's 228 years, the NYSE announced on March 18 that it would temporarily close its trading floors to move to fully electronic trading on March 23.

What she's saying: "Our goal is to prevent an outbreak from occurring, not a single case. It's very possible that we would have a single case on the trading floor because there still is a pandemic," she said.

  • Cunningham said the reopening on May 26 was small, and they've since been scaling up, implementing social distancing guidelines and using personal protective equipment as precautions.
  • "We want to make sure we have protections in place that can responsibly mitigate that risk of it spreading. ... But we might need to take measures to scale backwards."
  • "I am hopeful that we won't need to get to a place where we would need to close the floor, but we certainly are prepared we could do that again and it was a pretty seamless process," she added.

Go deeper: New York Stock Exchange to temporarily close trading floor due to coronavirus

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the New York Stock Exchange floor temporarily closed on March 23 to fully electronic trading (not March 12).

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