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

January 5, 2021
A Bevy of Convention Centers Achieve GBAC STAR Accreditation to Promote Safe Events

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.  

A Bevy of Convention Centers Achieve GBAC STAR Accreditation to Promote Safe Events“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
  • Vancouver Convention Centre
  • Oregon 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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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact