Little Rock Press Release

Statehouse  Convention Center

Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau Has Achieved Arkansas’s First GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation

Mar 16, 2021, 10:24 AM by Seth Barlow

Bureau receives first performance-based safety credentials in state; Statehouse Convention Center fully accredited

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (March 15, 2021) – 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.

Visit LittleRockMeetings.com for more Covid-19 information.

ABOUT LITTLE ROCK CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Little Rock, charged with marketing and selling the city as a meeting, sports and leisure travel destination. The LRCVB also manages the Statehouse Convention Center, Robinson Center, River Market and multiple parking facilities. For more information, visit www.littlerock.com .

About GBAC, a Division of ISSA  
Composed of international leaders in the field of microbial-pathogenic threat analysis, mitigation, response and recovery, the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, provides training, guidance, accreditation, certification, crisis management assistance and leadership to government, commercial and private entities looking to mitigate, quickly address and/or recover from biological threats and real-time crises. The organization’s services include biorisk management program assessment and training, Forensic Restoration® response and remediation, the GBAC STAR™ facility accreditation program, training and certification of individuals and consulting for building owners and facility managers. For more information, visit www.gbac.org.

About ISSA  
With more than 9,300 members—including distributors, manufacturers, manufacturer representatives, wholesalers, building service contractors, in-house service providers, residential cleaners and associated service members—ISSA is the world’s leading trade association for the cleaning industry. The association is committed to changing the way the world views cleaning by providing its members with the business tools they need to promote cleaning as an investment in human health, the environment and an improved bottom line. Headquartered in Northbrook, Ill., USA, the association has regional offices in Mainz, Germany; Whitby, Canada; Parramatta, Australia; Seoul, South Korea; and Shanghai, China. For more information about ISSA, visit www.issa.com or call 800-225-4772 (North America) or 847-982-0800. 

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