In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, launched its GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation to assist facilities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from infectious disease risks. The first facilities to earn accreditation were Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta and Dinner in a Dash in Monroe, Ga.
One year later, over 1,900 facilities in more than 80 countries across six continents have earned accreditation, and more than 3,000 facilities are in the process of pursuing accreditation. Additionally, cleaning service provider CCS Facility Services was the first to achieve GBAC STAR Service Accreditation in March to support its cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention protocols and procedures.
“Over the course of the last year, we have helped many organisations better understand the complexities of cleaning effectively for infectious diseases like the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. This has been especially crucial as guidance from public health agencies has changed throughout the pandemic,” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger. “We are beyond excited to see the benefits that participating facilities have realised and look forward to making even more progress in changing the way the world views cleaning.”
Since launching on 7 May 2020, GBAC STAR has attracted worldwide interest from facilities of all types and sizes. The accreditation is enabling safer travel due to adoption by American Airlines; Dallas Fort Worth International Airport; the five airports operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ): John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, New York Stewart International Airport, and Teterboro Airport; and other regional and international airports. Additionally, all Hyatt hotel locations worldwide, the forthcoming Resorts World Las Vegas in Las Vegas, and other franchise and boutique hotels have earned accreditation.
Other accredited large venues include the 5.9 million-square-foot Dubai Mall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Hard Rock Stadium, home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins; American Family Field in Milwaukee, home of MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers; TD Garden in Boston, home of the NBA’s Boston Celtics and NHL’s Boston Bruins; and other NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL stadiums and arenas in the United States and Canada.
Further, meeting venues such as Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France, home of the Cannes Film Festival; Los Angeles Convention Center; McCormick Place in Chicago; Orange County Convention Center in Orlando; and many other convention centres worldwide have achieved GBAC STAR. Chicago’s Navy Pier and additional museums and cultural venues, restaurants, commercial office and government buildings, long-term care facilities, schools and universities, fitness centres, salons and spas, theatres, worship facilities, and more round out the list of where the public can find the GBAC STAR seal.
Additionally, GBAC STAR Supporters, a network of over 80 industry organisations, have committed their support for the accreditation program with their constituents. Supporters include American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE); The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM); Visit Dallas; Discover The Palm Beaches, Fla.; Visit Baltimore; and many others.
Over the past year, GBAC has partnered with leading suppliers in the cleaning industry, including Kimberly-Clark Professional, CloroxPro, GOJO Industries, GP Pro, ByoPlanet, Essendant, and Victory Innovations, to launch grant and scholarship programs, equipment donations, and in-kind donations. These programs and donations have helped to support and educate facility professionals and service providers and demonstrate their commitment and readiness to prepare, respond, and recover from outbreaks and pandemics.
To make it easy for the public to find facilities that have earned or committed to accreditation, GBAC also launched its GBAC STAR Facility Directory, which allows users to filter based on keyword, facility type, location, and accreditation status. The public can enter these facilities with confidence since GBAC STAR accreditation provides clear direction on cleaning procedures and ensures that leadership and frontline cleaning staff are committed to a higher standard of cleanliness. Additional information for the public is available at gbac.org/info.
“Cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention are all crucial areas of focus during and after a pandemic, even when dealing with an airborne virus,” said ISSA Executive Director John Barrett. “Continuously upholding cleanliness is key to preventing future outbreaks and pandemics, and GBAC STAR accreditation gives facilities the tools to do just that.”