If you’ve read any reopening plans recently, it’s likely you’ve come across a line or two that mentions a commitment to earn the GBAC STAR accreditation.
Unveiled in May in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the accreditation comes from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of ISSA, and it is an outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation for facilities. It focuses on cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention.
GBAC executive director Patty Olinger said several thousand facilities worldwide have committed to achieving GBAC STAR, including leading hotel chains like Hyatt and major sports arenas like Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response and number of requests from all types of industries,” Olinger said, “from churches to small diners to beauty salons and yoga studios. But our big three right now are hotels, convention and event facilities, and stadiums and arenas.”
Facilities must comply with 20 “elements” to earn the accreditation. These include risk assessment strategies, sustainability (making sure it’s an ongoing program), the use of PPE, standard operating procedures, the consideration of new technology and tools and emergency preparedness.
[Related: 5 Important Tasks for Reopening Buildings During COVID-19]
Olinger said hotels and convention centers especially see GBAC STAR as a way to bring confidence back to their facilities. It can also be a selling point for your facility.
GBAC has been working with airlines and tourism organizations and hopes to create an experience for travelers when things are up and running again at full speed.
“Their customers will go to the airport and get on their plane, see the GBAC STAR, then go to their hotel and see it, and then maybe to a convention center or some kind of entertainment like a football game and see it,” Olinger explained. “They see this potentially as a whole experience where people are given that confidence.”
Who Has Committed to the Accreditation?
All types of facilities from an array of industries have announced their commitment to earn GBAC STAR. Some facilities that have signed on include:
- The Leading Hotels of the World (represents more than 400 hotels in over 80 countries)
- The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Nigel (in Dana Point, California)
- Marriott Marquis Chicago Hotel
- Anaheim Convention Center
- CenturyLink Field (in Seattle)
- Chase Center (in San Francisco)
- Georgia World Congress Center
- Hard Rock Stadium (in Miami)
- Honda Center (in Anaheim)
- Jacob K. Javits Convention Center (in New York City)
- Las Vegas Convention Center
- Lincoln Financial Field
- Los Angeles Convention Center
- Mandalay Bay Convention Center (in Las Vegas)
- McCormick Place (in Chicago)
- New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
- Ontario Convention Center (in Southern California)
- Orange County Convention Center (in Orlando)
- Phoenix Convention Center
- San Diego Convention Center
- San Jose McEnery Convention Center
- Savannah Convention Center
- Staples Center
- Toronto Congress Centre
- Discover The Palm Beaches
- Palm Beach International Airport
- Palm Beach County Convention Center
- More than 150 hotels
- Experience Columbus
- John Glenn Columbus International Airport
- Greater Columbus Convention Center
- Hilton Columbus Downtown
- Courtyard Columbus OSU
- The Grand Event Center
- Visit Baltimore
- More than 200 Baltimore facilities that include meeting venues, hotels, restaurants, museums, attractions, public markets and more
- Visit Dallas
- Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas
- Designated hotels
“We keep hearing that we’re all in this together—we are,” Olinger said. “We’re here, and we’re learning from one another all the time. The response [to GBAC STAR] has been humbling and overwhelming. People want to reopen and gain their livelihoods back, but very cautiously. And we’re here to work with different industries and individuals to help.”
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