It has been touted by the Miami Dolphins as a reason why it will be able to have a restricted number of fans at Hard Rock Stadium for home games. Venues both indoor and outdoor throughout the country and world are seeking its approval. But what is the GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation program? Here’s a bit of an explainer.

So, what is it all about?

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council is a division of the ISSA, which is the world’s leading trade association for the cleaning industry. The GBAC STAR Accreditation program focuses on cleaning, disinfecting and preventing infectious diseases — such as COVID-19. It is the industry’s top outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation and requires facilities to put in place practices, protocols, procedures and more to control the risks that are associated with infectious agents such as the coronavirus.

Where can it be useful?

Well, anywhere that there are planned social gatherings. Even before you get past the local, state and national guidelines for social distancing, there are a variety of hygiene protocols that any venue will want to have in place to assure visitors of their safety. The STAR program gives an assessment of a facility’s preparedness and trains staffers at the facilities to prevent and contain biorisks. It also establishes guidelines for communication with the public. Venues of all shapes and sizes — indoor arenas and convention centers, outdoor sports stadiums and complexes — are seeking its approval.

Like what places?

The Miami Dolphins went on “Good Morning America” recently to tout that it had been accredited in the program. Others who are working on finishing the accreditation process and testing include Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, VisitDallas and its many affiliated venues, McCormick Place in Chicago, the Las Vegas Convention Center and more.

Tests? I thought I was done taking tests when I graduated college.

Well, you weren’t. Sorry not sorry.

The program bills itself as “performance-based” and will help facilities that don’t already have procedures in place — or do but want to upgrade them — to set up systems for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention for a venue’s staff. It will teach those that take the program disinfection techniques and best practices for cleaning biohazards like COVID-19.

How long does it take?

It’s not about time, it’s about thoroughness. There are 20 different elements within the program, whether it’s setting up standard operating procedures, assessing risks and strategizing on how to minimize them, or things such as personal protective equipment and response measures to emergencies. Facilities have to apply online and provide documents and supporting evidence with an application to the GBAC STAR Accreditation Council.

Wait. It’s called the STAR program? Do I get a gold star when it’s completed?

Maybe? And even if you don’t get a gold star from the program, you can always get a gold star at your locally owned craft store nearby.

What you do get, regardless of a star, is being able to tell potential event organizers and crowds that your facility has strict cleaning protocols for diseases such as COVID-19, protecting those who are in your venue in the future while being prepared should an outbreak occur in your facility. The accreditation will certify that your venue’s cleaning staff have been trained in best practices for disinfecting the complex and are certified in infectious disease response.

Where do I find out more?

You can go here for information.