New York-area based banks gear up coronavirus preparations

Financial firms in New York City are already testing work-from-home capabilities, implementing travel restrictions and canceling or modifying upcoming events even as China’s coronavirus, which landed on the finance capital’s doorstep, showed little signs of abating.

Grand Central Station headquartered MetLife Inc, has already imposed a ban on “[non-]essential,”international travel, said a source familiar with the matter at hand.

MetLife requires staff to get approval from the executive team before embarking on such trips, and is encouraging employees to hold virtual meetings via conference calls or video chats rather than travel domestically.

Fewer than 10 employees are self-quarantined as they have traveled to regions that are affected by the virus, said the source.

Third Point LLC, a hedge fund, has also sent a note to those attending its March 9 investor day in Manhattan, outlining new procedures including a “no handshake policy” with attendees having to ensure that they have spent at least two weeks outside of high-risk territories prior to the event.

According to government officials, there are ten confirmed coronavirus cases in New York state, which has led to self-quarantine orders for 1,000 people in the suburb of Westchester.

JPMorgan Chase & Co has also begun rolling out emergency coronavirus plans across the United States this week, and has asked thousands of employees to work from home or from secondary locations, including two outside of Manhattan.

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