ORLANDO – The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) announced its intention to become a GBAC STAR™ accredited facility as part of its approach to safeguarding the industry from infectious diseases like COVID-19. The accreditation program, which officially launched May 7, has a fast-growing list of venues, hotels, and trade show organizations signing up as cities worldwide look to safely open business sectors as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Related. Read more about the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation program.

“As we face these unprecedented times, it is vital that we take the necessary steps in order to recover from this crisis,” stated OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “In collaboration with GBAC, we are incorporating some of the most stringent protocols into our recovery and resiliency plan to safeguard our guests, employees, and community to instill a sense of confidence and trust when they return to the OCCC.”

Administered by the Global BioRisk Advisory Council, a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning association, the GBAC STAR™ provides third-party validation to ensure the implementation of rigorous protocols in response to biorisk situations. Moreover, it establishes requirements to assist large-scale facilities by providing best practices, protocols, and procedures to control risks associated with infectious agents, such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.

The OCCC ranked second in TSE’s 2019 Millionaire’s Club annual report, offering some of the world’s top shows more than 2.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space. It hosted 14 TSE-listed Gold 100 trade shows in 2018 including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition, which totaled 932,845 NSF of paid exhibit space.

Providing $3 billion in economic impact to Central Florida annually, the convention center averages around 200 events, and about 115 are conventions and trade shows that attract more than 1.5 million attendees. More HERE.

“When people return to Orange County, we want them to have the peace of mind that they are safe and protected,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “I commend the leadership of the OCCC in pursuing the GBAC STAR™ accreditation and taking the necessary steps to secure a safe and healthy future for convention visitors and our community as a whole.”

According to the center, the decision to pursue GBAC STAR™ accreditation coincides with a larger, cohesive approach to reopening that includes it’s newly released Recovery and Resiliency Guidelines. The guidelines were created by an internal OCCC committee to keep guests, employees, and the community safe. They said, the guidelines rely on the best available science and research on sanitation methods, in consultation with Orange County Government, and can be accessed at www.occc.net/guidelines.

Related. Watch Mark Tester’s on the challenges of proactive response to COVID-19 on this local TV interview at https://vimeo.com/414775921.

The comprehensive program will enable the OCCC to:

  • Establish and maintain a cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program to control and/or minimize the risk associated with infectious agents for employees, guests, the community, and the environment.
  • Provide assurance and establish confidence that proper cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention work practices are in place and implemented.
  • Establish a framework for communication and raising awareness of best practices as they relate to cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.


The OCCC’s first event since the COVID pandemic restrictions is slated for July. See the center’s calendar HERE.