In July, the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) earned its Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation. Recognized as the gold standard of safe venues, the OCCC was amongst the first in the nation to earn this industry-esteemed certification, providing third party validation from the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA).
What is GBAC STAR?
GBAC STAR is a performance-based accreditation program, designed to help facilities establish a comprehensive cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention plan to protect their venue, employees and guests.
Focusing on 20 essential program elements, the accreditation teaches proper protocols, disinfection techniques and cleaning best practices for biohazardous situations, such as COVID-19.
GBAC STAR at the OCCC
Playing an essential role in the OCCC’s three-pronged recovery strategy, GBAC STAR offered a framework to revise operations, focusing on maintaining a healthier and safer meeting venue for employees, guests and the surrounding community.
In pursuit of the industry accreditation, 28 OCCC environmental services team members participated in a comprehensive training program, to learn the data and science behind infectious disease prevention and control. Offering best practices, expertise and educated insights, the program shared tools and strategies for enhancing the OCCC’s existing procedures, including a framework for systematic documentation and establishing comprehensive cleaning schedules.
Since earning the accreditation, the OCCC has not only increased the frequency of its cleaning, but also the visibility. Traditionally operating behind-the-scenes, the OCCC environmental services team is now front and center, to further instill confidence and demonstrate the enhanced measures in place.
The OCCC continues to enhance and fine-tune its recovery strategy in line with emerging data, recommendations and feedback. For instance, since modifying operations, the OCCC pivoted to revise its supply of cleaning materials to focus on acquiring products validated and assigned by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
GBAC STAR offered educated insights and best practices on utilizing professional-grade equipment already on-hand at the OCCC.
The OCCC continues to enhance its facility with increased sanitation stations and strategic signage.
Since earning the accreditation, the OCCC has not only increased the frequency of its cleaning, but also the visibility.
As an early adopter, the OCCC was amongst the first in the U.S. to pursue the program. Since earning its accreditation, many facilities throughout the nation and Central Florida have sought and obtained the qualification, signifying a unified commitment to safety. Most recently, the Hyatt Regency Orlando, connected to the Center by way of pedestrian bridge, announced their status as a GBAC STAR accredited venue.
Instilling confidence, the continued prominence of this accreditation throughout the region will offer a trusted benchmark and assurance that guests are entering a safe, clean space, as they extend beyond the boundaries of The Center of Hospitality into the surrounding community.
Success at the OCCC
Since implementing its data-driven Recovery and Resiliency Guidelines, the OCCC has safely welcomed several key events, including the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior National Volleyball Championships, the Together Again Expo, and the Florida Wedding Expo.
In line with its GBAC STAR training, the OCCC upheld rigorous sanitation protocols throughout the duration of each event. OCCC employees thoroughly disinfected the venue each evening and introduced numerous enhanced measures throughout the move-in, move-out and event process to protect exhibitors and attendees.
With no illnesses or cases reported following each event, the guidance provided by GBAC are a proven success and testament to the OCCC’s commitment to meeting safely in our new normal.
The Together Again Expo featured physically distanced seating plans and enhanced sanitation procedures.
66 physically distanced volleyball courts staged at this year's AAU event, compared to 133 in previous years.
The Florida Wedding Expo adjusted the flow of this year's event to further promote physical distancing.
Learn more about meeting safely at the OCCC by visiting www.occc.net/meetingsafely, or engaging with #MeetingSafely on social media.
If you are interested in hosting your next event at The Center of Hospitality, please submit a Request for Proposal (RFP), or get in touch with our expert sales team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.