A Bevy of Convention Centers Achieve GBAC STAR Accreditation to Promote Safe Events

January 6, 2021

Since the pandemic took hold in the U.S. last Spring, more and more convention centers have been demonstrating their commitment to protecting health and safety in the “new abnormal” by achieving GBAC STAR, a cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention accreditation program designed for facilities of all types and sizes.

Launched on May 7 by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a division of cleaning industry trade association ISSA, the GBAC program establishes requirements addressing work practices, protocols, procedures and systems to control risks associated with infectious agents such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. 

According to GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger, GBAC STAR is an important indicator of a facility’s ability to prepare, respond and recover from infectious disease outbreaks and biohazard situations. 

“Facilities that achieve GBAC STAR have proven that their approach to cleaning, disinfection and infection prevention will protect building visitors, residents and employees,” Olinger said. “And because accreditation is renewed annually, these organizations demonstrate they are committed to continually improving their programs.” 

To achieve it, facilities must demonstrate capability and compliance with 20 key program elements, including personal protective equipment, personnel training and emergency response, she added. 

While some program participants hire consultants or engage with internal experts to complete their applications, others rely on insights and guidance from GBAC to submit a cleaning, disinfection and infection prevention program for accreditation that suits their facility and fulfills local, state and other key guidelines. 

“Organizations must be able to clearly explain to the public the steps they are taking to provide a safe and healthy environment,” explained John Barrett, executive director of ISSA. “GBAC STAR accreditation elevates credibility and GBAC’s experts also work closely with accredited facilities to help them communicate the ‘what, how, when and why’ behind cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.”

Major U.S. convention facilities that have achieved GBAC STAR in 2020 include:

  • Atlantic City Convention Center
  • Fort Worth Convention Center
  • Reno-Sparks Convention Center
  • Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas
  • Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville
  • Safe Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento, Ca.
  • Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee
  • America’s Center in St. Louis
  • Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia
  • Raleigh Convention and Performing Arts Complex in Raleigh, N.C.
  • Puerto Rico Convention Center 
  • Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas
  • Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Ca.
  • The Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City                       
  • Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio
  • Las Vegas Convention Center 
  • McCormick Place in Chicago
  • Miami Beach Convention Center
  • Savannah Convention Center in Savannah, Ga.
  • Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, Ca.
  • Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center in Long Beach, Ca.
  • Phoenix Convention Center
  • Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
  • Orange County Convention Center in Orlando
  • Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati
  • Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland
  • Music City Center in Nashville
  • San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Ca.
  • Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Ca.
  • Los Angeles Convention Center
  • Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans
  • Palm Beach County Convention Center in Palm Beach, Fla.
  • San Diego Convention Center 

For a complete list of accredited venues, check out the new GBAC STAR Facility Directory, which includes all facilities around the world that have achieved GBAC STAR as well as those that have committed to achieve accreditation. Besides convention centers, the new web-based tool provides a searchable listing of participating hotels, stadiums and arenas, restaurants, airports and commercial facilities. 

“The GBAC STAR program is the gold standard of prepared facilities and will help the public gauge an organization’s commitment to the elevated standard of cleanliness that is now essential,” Barrett said. “By helping organizations understand how to document and execute their cleaning procedures, we’re paving the way for a healthier and safer world.” 

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