One Company’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Bruce Ortwine, General Counsel, Americas; Adviser, Global Legal and Compliance; Senior Executive Vice President, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited
I first learned about a strange new virus emanating from Central China during a business lunch meeting in Tokyo in mid-January 2020. My Japanese colleague knew few details about the outbreak and we quickly moved on to another topic of discussion. At that time, I was expecting to make visits to the Asian offices of my bank (Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai) in late February into early March, to Tokyo again in April and to Bali in May to celebrate my wife’s birthday. How quickly things changed.
By mid-March, not only had COVID quickly spread from China to the Western World, but, in response, the U.S. had decided to suggest a two-week lockdown to “bend the curve.” On March 16, the New York State Governor imposed through an Executive Order (the “New York Executive Order”) a two week “pause.” The Governor of New Jersey issued a similar Executive Order (the “New Jersey Executive Order”) at the same time.
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