Little Rock CVB Achieves Arkansas’s First GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation

March 16, 2021
LRCVB StateHouse Convention Center

LRCVB Statehouse Convention Center

The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) has announced that it has achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities. Under the guidance of GBAC, a Division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, LRCVB has implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention in the Statehouse Convention Center.

As the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation, GBAC STAR™ helps organizations establish protocols and procedures, offers expert-led training and assesses a facility’s readiness for biorisk situations. The program verifies that LRCVB implements best practices to prepare for, respond to and recover from outbreaks and pandemics.

“GBAC STAR accreditation empowers facility owners and managers to assure workers, customers and key stakeholders that they have proven systems in place to maintain clean and healthy environments,” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger. “By taking this important step to pursue GBAC STAR, the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau/Statehouse Convention Center has received third-party validation that it follows strict protocols for biorisk situations, thereby demonstrating its preparedness and commitment to operating safely.”

“The GBAC STAR™ program is the highest seal of approval when it comes to safe and clean environments,” said LRCVB President & CEO Gretchen Hall. “Our event and operations staff has worked hard to earn this certification to instill confidence among constituents that appropriate measures are being taken daily to control the risks associated with outbreaks and potential exposures in event facilities like Little Rock’s Statehouse Convention Center,” Hall stressed. The convention center is the LRCVB’s largest managed events venue, and the first to be certified. Another LRCVB-managed facility, Robinson Center is also in the certification process.

To achieve GBAC STAR™ accreditation, LRCVB staff was required to demonstrate compliance with the program’s 20 core elements, which range from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness and response measures. Examples of the required 20 core accreditation elements include:

  • Purchase of EPA-approved cleaning supplies;
  • Purchase of electrostatic sprayers and foggers;
  • Purchase of non-contact temperature detection stations;
  • Heightened touch point cleaning;
  • Horizontal and vertical surfaces disinfection;
  • Presence of personal protective equipment on-site at all times;
  • Blood borne pathogen and infectious materials training;
  • Biomedical/biohazardous waste management plan;
  • Infectious disease prevention program.

Additionally, the LRCVB formed a task force within the bureau to draft its GBAC STAR™ plan and created a safety committee to conduct ongoing monthly audits and inspections.

“This entire process has made our team take a step back, and really think about what needs to be done in our facilities for our patrons,” said LRCVB Senior Director of Event Operations Phyllis Lucas. “We want to show our ongoing commitment to their safety,” she added.

Like many destinations throughout the nation, Little Rock’s travel and tourism industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus. As events in the capital city are beginning to return in 2021, the GBAC STAR™ certification is providing a premium comfort level with planners, organizers, and attendees to ensure maximum safety and security.

Other procedures implemented by the LRCVB in its managed facilities include:

  • Hand-sanitizer is provided throughout the building and at every entrance;
  • Face coverings are required for all persons present, except for children under 10 years of age, who are exempt;
  • Venue operates at up to 66 percent capacity of each individual meeting room and event space;
  • Lines or cues for entrance, exit, purchases, or other reasons are marked or monitored for maintaining a distance of 6 feet between patrons;
  • The facility, including seating, is cleaned and disinfected before and after each use;
  • Frequently touch surfaces are cleaned periodically during the course of the event;
    • Products with EPA-approved antibacterial disinfectant are used for cleaning;
  • Lobby furniture is removed to reduce small crowds and gatherings;
  • Signage is posted at all entry points notifying guests of all distancing requirements and all other modified policies;
  • These operating protocols are evaluated every 30-days and adjustments are made in conjunction with current health guidelines.


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