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A GBAC Star Rating for Events

Like facilities and service companies, events can now be certified as prepared to prevent or respond to a Covid outbreak. Here’s how.

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a division of ISSA, a Northbrook, Ill.-based trade association for the cleaning industry, has expanded its Star program to allow events to earn an accreditation for their outbreak prevention, response, and recovery protocols.

The GBAC Star program, launched in spring 2020, was initially focused on event venues and setting safety standards to control risks from Covid-19. Early adopters included Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center and the Orlando County Convention Center, and today hundreds of facilities have earned the accreditation. GBAC added Star-rating standards for service companies in February 2021 and for destinations in October 2021. Technologies and products can also earn a stamp of approval as “GBAC Star registered.”

The newest accreditation category, events, is just launching—in fact, the GBAC website is still being updated to reflect the addition. However, two events have already achieved the designation.

Not surprisingly, the first was ISSA’s 2021 North American Show, held November 15-18 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The second is the International Association of Exhibitions and Events’ annual meeting, Expo! Expo!, which wrapped up December 9 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

To earn the accreditation, an event has three main requirements. It must be held in a facility that has earned GBAC Star Facility Accreditation, use a cleaning contractor that has the GBAC Star Service Accreditation, and it must uphold all state Covid-safety protocols, including mask and vaccination rules.

In the case of Expo! Expo!, the Pennsylvania Convention Center earned its GBAC Star rating in November, and United Service Companies, which handled the show’s cleaning program, has held the service-company accreditation since May.

A notice of GBAC Star accreditation on an event website can provide potential attendees with peace of mind, says Jill Nuppenau, director of communication at ISSA. “Then they know that not only is the event being held in a facility that is following proper infection-prevention protocols, but the cleaning-service provider is using the right chemicals and the correct procedures to help in preventing an outbreak.”

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