SEC becomes first federal agency to ask DC employees to work from home over potential coronavirus case

SEC becomes first federal agency to ask DC employees to work from home over potential coronavirus case

(CNN) – The Securities and Exchange Commission is asking all personnel based at its headquarters to work from home due to an employee who may have coronavirus, according to an SEC spokesperson, becoming the first federal agency to ask its Washington employees to stay home.

The news comes following the Dow’s worst day since 2008 on Monday, as the markets tumbled amid a trading standstill and historic oil crash. The virus has also hit Washington, with six lawmakers opting to self-quarantine after potential exposure to people who have the coronavirus.

“Late this afternoon, the SEC was informed that a Washington, DC Headquarters employee was treated for respiratory symptoms today (Monday),” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The employee was informed by a physician that the employee may have the coronavirus and was referred for testing.”
The spokesperson added, “Amongst other precautions, the SEC is encouraging Headquarters employees to telework until further guidance.”
The Washington Post first reported the SEC’s decision.
The SEC isn’t the first American employer to pursue large-scale working from home. Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have all encouraged employees in the Seattle area to work from home due to concerns about the novel coronavirus outbreak in Washington, which is among the hardest hit states. Last week, JPMorgan Chase asked thousands of its employees to work from home for a day to test contingency plans, a person familiar with the matter told CNN Business.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said employers should have strategies ready to protect their workforce — and for some companies, that has meant a shift to virtual communications.
Starbucks told its shareholders last week not to come to its annual meeting planned for Seattle, opting for a virtual annual meeting instead. Several web conferencing companies have rolled out limited-time free access for many of their users.

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