Employees at the SEC headquarters in Washington, D.C., have been advised to work from home until further notice because an employee is currently undergoing testing for the coronavirus, according to an SEC spokesperson.
On Monday, an SEC employee experiencing respiratory symptoms was referred to testing for the coronavirus, according to a commission spokesperson. The SEC was informed late Monday afternoon, and encouraged all employees operating out of its headquarters to telework “until further guidance.”
“Even with increased telework, the SEC remains able and committed to fully executing its mission on behalf of investors, including monitoring market function and working closely with other regulators and market participants,” the SEC spokesperson said.
The SEC is the first governmental agency to close its doors due to a potential coronavirus diagnosis, but the continued spread of the virus has had myriad ramifications, including contributing to increased volatility in the markets. Numerous school districts have announced they will temporarily close, and Harvard University and Amherst College will both be ending in-person lectures and holding classes online for the remainder of their semesters.
Earlier this week, the Italian government announced a voluntary quarantine for the entire country, effective through April 3. Until then, people in the country should not travel except for work and emergencies, and public gatherings and sporting events would be discontinued (Italy has been hit particularly hard by the spread of the virus, having the most cases of the COVID-19 virus outside of China, according to CNBC).
The SEC couldn’t give any further indication on how long the advisement to work from home may last.