McCormick Place Driving Toward GBAC STAR™ Accreditation

The outbreak, prevention, response and recovery accreditation led by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council will help prepare the nation’s largest convention center for safe reopening

July 15, 2020
Contact: Cynthia McCafferty
Phone: (314) 322-8647

CHICAGO— McCormick Place, North America’s largest and most adaptable convention center, announces today its commitment to achieve the Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s GBAC STAR™ accreditation. McCormick Place first committed to pursuing this accreditation in May, leading the charge for convention centers and other venues internationally.

Designed to assist spaces in establishing a comprehensive system of cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention, the GBAC STAR program is the gold standard for prepared facilities. The GBAC STAR program works with facilities to create practices, protocols, procedures, and systems to control risks associated with infectious agents such as the virus responsible for COVID-19.

“The rigorous process of accreditation and review is important to us,” said David Causton, General Manager of McCormick Place. “With nearly 3 million visitors each year in addition to thousands of employees and contractors, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to ensure that we are adhering to the highest standards of public health.”

“Working alongside a third-party group of experts at the Global Biorisk Advisory Council ensures our facility is held to the highest standard of cleaning worldwide,” said Larita Clark, CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. “Now and always, our highest priority is the safety of our staff and our guests. We know this accreditation is an integral step to ensuring that safety and welcoming back events within our space.”

“As key industries in our economy reopen and expand operations, it is critical that our business leaders take every precaution to keep consumers safe,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I applaud the leadership of McCormick Place for taking this critical step to ensure our largest convention center leads the way in health and safety nationwide.”

“The convention industry is one of Chicago’s key economic drivers, as well as one of the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “We are very proud of McCormick Place’s initiative and vision in ensuring the health and safety of both their employees and guests, as well as convention centers nationwide, through this innovative accreditation program. It’s measures like these that will allow this key industry to get back on track, our employees to get back to work, and our city to recover stronger and more resilient than it’s ever been.”

The GBAC STAR Accreditation Council determines each facility’s accreditation by examining their ability to demonstrate compliance with the program’s 20 elements, which range from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness and response measures. Receiving this accreditation means that a facility has:

  • Established and maintained a cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program to minimize risks associated with infectious agents like the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)
  • The proper cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques, and work practices in place to combat biohazards and infectious disease
  • Highly skilled cleaning professionals who are trained for outbreak and infectious disease preparation and response

“We commend McCormick Place for being one of the first convention centers to sign on to participate in this initiative,” said GBAC Executive Director Patty Olinger. “Preparing facilities to adhere to this new standard of protection and disinfection with COVID-19 is an unprecedented undertaking, and we are pleased to see McCormick Place—a leader and influencer in the events industry—set a high standard of care for others to follow.”

Seeking the GBAC STAR accreditation is just one aspect of an ongoing campus-wide plan designed by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority team that will help ensure the safety and protection of all campus visitors and employees.


The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) is a municipal corporation created by the Illinois General Assembly. MPEA owns McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America, and seeks to promote and operate conventions, fairs, expositions and meetings in the state of Illinois in a dedicated effort to strengthen the local economy. MPEA also owns the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, a Four Diamond AAA-rated hotel located on the McCormick Place campus, the Marriott Marquis Chicago, and the 10,000-seat Wintrust Arena. Learn more about our growing community here.

Global Biorisk Advisory Council, 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 the worldwide cleaning association 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



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 or call 800-225-4772 (North America) or 847-982-0800.


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