Orange County Convention Center is the first to receive GBAC STAR re-accreditation

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The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando, Florida, became the first such facility to receive GBAC STAR facility re-accreditation from the Global Biohazard Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of ISSA, the global association of the cleaning industry.

The OCCC was one of the first congress centers receive initial GBAC STAR facility accreditation when the program launches in 2020, and the re-accreditation comes after a year of successful hosting of events amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our GBAC STAR re-accreditation on Outbreak Prevention, Response and Recovery is another step in ensuring the centre’s business continuity and as we continue to lead the economic recovery in the convention and trade show industry,” said OCCC executive director Mark Tester.

The OCCC has always been committed to hosting safe events and putting the health of everyone who enters the center first, according to Tester.

“GBAC STAR has been instrumental in helping us get to where we are today,” he said. “We are grateful for the continued support and flexibility of our customers and partners, as well as our guests and employees, as we continue to meet the new standard of cleanliness. “

The re-accreditation of GBAC STAR facilities is an annual process that builds on the initial accreditation to ensure that accredited facilities continue to evolve, improve and progress with the performance-based elements of the GBAC STAR program. The components are designed to help establishments establish a comprehensive cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention system for their staff and building.

With over 1,000 installations Having achieved the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation in 2020, many are now starting the re-accreditation process with GBAC.

“We have designed GBAC STAR to grow and evolve with facilities as new information and best practices emerge,” said ACGB Executive Director Patricia Olinger. “The re-accreditation process is a great way to ensure that over time institutions continue to do everything in their power to prevent the spread of infection. “

Innovative health and safety model

With his GBAC Star re-accreditation, Recovery and Resilience Guidelines, pioneering collaboration with Orlando Health and detailed planning efforts for each event, the OCCC implemented a unique model which it believes has been key to hosting events safely in the new era of health and safety protocols.

The protocols of its initial guidelines on recovery and resilience were an important aspect of the original GBAC Star accreditation of the OCCC. The OCCC completed 20 elements of the GBAC program with specific performance and guidance criteria, which enabled the center to establish and maintain a cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention program to control and / or minimize the risks associated with infectious agents to employees, guests, the community and the environment. The center has also created a framework for communication and awareness of good cleaning and disinfection practices.

In addition, all full-time, part-time and temporary employees of the Orange County Convention Center must now be fully immunized, with some exceptions for medical, religious or covered reasons by September 30.

Through GBAC Star standards and its recovery and resilience guidelines, the OCCC has implemented numerous health and safety measures for its employees, service partners and facilities in general, including the following:

  • Physical distancing based on CDC guidelines
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in accordance with CDC guidelines
  • Hand sanitizers and hand washing stations
  • Cleaning and disinfection of public areas and common areas of the house facade
  • Health and hygiene signage at the front of the house
  • Florida Department of Health Recommended Notification Procedures for Suspected COVID-19 Cases
  • Good practices regarding employee health issues
  • COVID-19 Safety and Sanitation Training for Employees
  • Systems for cleaning installations with appropriate disinfection
  • Industrial grade scrubbers
  • HVAC systems operating 24 hours a day in front of residential areas and 24 hours a day in exhibition halls when occupied
  • Strict health and safety protocols for all service partners

Meanwhile, the OCCC’s collaboration with Orlando Health provides personalized medical services and resources to all meeting and convention groups hosting events at the center. Services available include personalized medical advice, direct access to PPE for participants, medically certified communication materials, 24/7 medical concierge via Orlando Health virtual tour, and hospitality services. ‘On-site medical experts and advice for event host hotels, transport providers and others. major partners through Orlando Health Ready for business initiative.

Successful secure events

Since July 2020, the OCCC has safely and successfully hosted more than 100 face-to-face events with its extensive list of health and safety protocols in place. The center has never closed and has been practicing improved cleaning and sanitation protocols for 18 months.

In addition, the OCCC team works to meet the demands and needs of each show. Over the past 18 months, the center has set up additional disinfection and hand washing stations at the request of the client. Medical service providers also performed thermal scan temperature checks or other screening processes to ensure that guests, exhibitors and attendees did not have a fever. In February 2021, trade show planners MAGIC, OFFPRICE and WWIN worked closely with the OCCC team to provide a safe and productive trade show environment, requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test. entry for all participants.

The center also made personalized aerial announcements in the public space, in addition to the standard OCCC messaging which is broadcast hourly in the halls. OCCC Event Management also worked with clients to adjust floor plans to include dedicated crowd management entry / exit points, including wider aisles to accommodate physical distance.

“The center will continue to focus on infectious disease prevention practices and work with all of our events based on their unique needs to give clients, attendees and exhibitors a sense of security and comfort,” said Lester. .

As of August 19, 2021, the OCCC had planned 52 contracted events throughout the year, which it said represents about 550,000 attendees and about $ 1 billion in economic impact for the community. The list includes 12 conventions, trade shows and sporting events that have moved to the OCCC from other venues.

In July, the OCCC hosted 19 events with around 152,725 attendees and a collective economic impact of over $ 234 million. June marked a record return for the center, with 14 events and more than 167,000 participants for an economic impact of nearly $ 240 million.

“The OCCC is an industry leader, showing how to organize safe events in the midst of a pandemic and beyond,” said Olinger of GBAC.


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