Venues across the country are working toward GBAC Star accreditation—the new gold standard in the COVID-19 era.
The GBAC Star program, created by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association), provides venue-cleaning professionals best practices on how to prepare and respond to infectious diseases and biohazards. Guidelines were developed from an advisory board including scientific minds from Harvard, Penn State and Emory universities, as well as governmental agencies.
With the novel coronavirus likely to have an impact the events industry for years, the recognition is a way to demonstrate a commitment to public health as sports fans and meeting goers decide whether it’s safe to attend an event in person. The accreditation is quickly becoming more coveted, at least for now, than LEED certifications for sustainability efforts.
“Pursuing the GBAC STAR accreditation… further demonstrates our commitment to maintain best-in-class safety standards that ensure confidence within the minds of our clients and their attendees,” says Visit Phoenix President and CEO Steve Moore in announcing Phoenix Convention Center is pursuing the certification.
Los Angeles Convention Center has also committed to completing the program. “As we look ahead toward the new normal,” we plan to make our venue safe for all—our employees, our clients and attendees,” says LACC General Manager Ellen Schwartz.
Earlier in May, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami—home to this year’s Super Bowl—announced it will be the first pro football stadium to attain the GBAC Star accreditation.
“We didn't want to create our own standard, we wanted to be accountable to the most credible third-party standard that exists,” says Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel. “Working with GBAC ensures compliance with critical guidelines for the highest standard of cleanliness and it is our hope that other venues will follow suit as we navigate through these unprecedented times."
Even smaller cities such as Frisco, Texas, see the value in pursuing GBAC Star accreditation. “We are excited to be a part of the growing number of destinations that recognize the importance of resident and traveler safety in their communities,” said Marla Roe, Visit Frisco Executive Director. “Most of Frisco’s hotels, as well as all of Frisco’s sports facilities and attractions are in the process of pursuing their GBAC STAR accreditation in order to ensure residents and visitors feel safe when visiting and exploring Frisco. This is a huge step in getting all of us back to the business of travel.”
In order to earn GBAC STAR accreditation, each venue must complete 20 program elements with specific performance and guidance criteria. The program will enable facilities to:
- Establish and maintain a cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program to control and/or minimize risk associated with infectious agents such as SARS-CoV-2 (responsible for COVID-19 disease) for employees, customers, the community and the environment.
- Provide assurance and establish confidence that proper cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention work practices are in place and implemented.
- Establish a framework for communication and raising awareness of best practices as they relate to cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.