By Aly Grubb
The Fox Theatre has announced it has achieved the 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, the Fox Theatre has implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention. The accreditation is one of many health and safety preparations the Atlanta theatre has made to reopen.
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 the Fox Theatre implements best practices to prepare for, respond to, and recover from outbreaks and pandemics.
“By taking this important step to pursue the GBAC STAR, the Fox Theatre has received third-party validation that it follows strict protocols for biorisk situations, thereby demonstrating its preparedness and commitment to operating safely”, says GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger.
To achieve this accreditation, the Fox 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. Learn more about GBAC STAR accreditation at www.gbac.org.
In addition to earning the GBAC STAR™ accreditation, the Fox is making significant improvements to the facility’s air quality. Most notably, the theatre has consulted with Mathias Environmental out of Duluth, GA to design and install an Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) system in its heating and air ventilation system. The technology, recognized for disinfection of air by both the CDC and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRE) uses UVC lighting to attack the DNA and RNA of pathogens found in the air. “UVC has been used to combat the spread of airborne pathogens like Tuberculosis since the 1960’s,” says Jeff Stines of American Ultraviolet, the company providing most of the Fox’s UV lighting equipment. “Once installed, the technology is designed to inactivate up to 99% of viruses on every air cycle.”
The theatre’s air quality improvement project adds to a list of evolving health and safety preparations it has made since shutting down last March.
“The Fox’s determination to utilize one of the most effective and proven technologies backed by decades of testing and research, is a refreshing example of a facility and its management that doesn’t just say they’re doing something effective and meaningful but prove they are with an investment like this,” says Dave Heydinger, President of the Mathias Environmental.
Regarding some operational changes, guests returning to the Fox can expect a more contactless event experience:
Digital tickets to replace paper tickets and print-at-home delivery options
Mobile entry with self-scanning pedestals
Guest-facing credit card terminals and contactless payment options
Plexi-glass partitions at all food and beverage service locations
Touchless hand sanitizers throughout the theatre
Mobile pick-up on select food and beverage through the Fox Mobile App
“Local, state, and federal guidelines related to resuming indoor live events continue to evolve. We are continuing preparations for a summer reopening and will share further event updates including guest implications as they develop,” says Allan Vella, President and CEO of the Fox Theatre.
Aly Grubb is Director of Marketing for The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.
By Gary O’Brien
As Nationwide Arena welcomed fans to the March 2 Columbus Blue Jackets game vs. the Detroit Red Wings (the first game with fans since March 1, 2020), the venue announced it has earned the prestigious GBAC Star Certification Accreditation. This is another indication of the venue’s priority of providing a confident, safe environment for guests, staff and players.
“We are thrilled to welcome fans back to Nationwide Arena, and are confident that the health and safety protocols we’ve put in place show that we are meeting the highest standards in providing a safe and healthy environment as further validated by the GBAC Star Facility Accreditation,” said Mike Gatto, Senior Vice-President of Columbus Arena Sports and Entertainment (CASE) and the General Manager of Nationwide Arena.
The GBAC STAR™ program requires demonstrated compliance with 20 core elements from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment, emergency preparedness and response measures. Accreditation recognizes implementation of the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention. The program ensures facilities use best practices to limit future outbreaks, empowers cleaning staff to do their jobs safety and effectively and gives customers greater peace of mind.
“GBAC Star certification is the cleaning industry’s gold seal of approval, and assures that fans can safely attend events at Nationwide Arena,” said Don Brown, Executive Director of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority (FCCFA).
“On the cusp of Blue Jackets fans being welcomed back to Nationwide Arena, it’s exciting to know they will have the extra layer of assurance in the facility having received GBAC STAR™ Accreditation,” said Brian Ross, President and CEO of Experience Columbus. “This third-party validation of their outbreak prevention and response capabilities is an important step in continuing to reopen the travel economy and welcome events back to our community.”
The Schottenstein Center (also managed by CASE), home to The Ohio State University’s Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Ice Hockey, as well as world-class concerts and events, is currently pursuing GBAC STAR Accreditation.
Gary O’Brien is Director of Communications for Columbus Arena Sports and Entertainment (CASE).
By Karen Brand
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) has announced the implementation of two cleanliness and safety technologies in its venues: needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI) and thermal cameras. The CRVA manages the Charlotte Convention Center, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Bojangles Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium, and provides back of house support to Spectrum Center.
The CRVA is among the first in the meetings and conventions industry to implement NPBI technology in its venues. Developed and installed by Charlotte-based Global Plasma Solutions (GPS), the patented technology plays a pivotal role in efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus when paired with the CRVA’s existing practices and cleaning technologies. NPBI technology delivers safer, cleaner indoor air by reducing harmful particles and pathogens like mold, bacteria, allergens and viruses, and is highly effective in eliminating disease-causing pathogens, such as those responsible for COVID-19.
The CRVA will use four thermal camera units — three in the Charlotte Convention Center and one in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The cameras work by continuously measuring body temperatures in large groups of employees and guests entering the buildings, with the ability to measure tens of thousands of readings per hour from up to 16 feet away. The thermal camera units will allow the venues to more efficiently conduct health screenings and safely welcome guests by reducing potential spread of the virus.
“The NPBI technology and cameras add an additional layer of cleanliness, help us mitigate risk and enhance the already-robust cleaning practices in place within our managed venues,” said Tom Murray, Chief Executive Officer of the CRVA. “The health and wellbeing of our guests, employees and visitors to Charlotte is always our top priority. We appreciate our partnership with the City of Charlotte and their commitment to using CARES Act funding for installation of the NPBI technology in support of the hospitality industry’s recovery.”
Prior to the NPBI technology and thermal cameras, the CRVA had taken great steps to provide the highest standards of safety and security for guests and employees to each of its managed venues. The Charlotte Convention Center, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Bojangles Entertainment Complex and Spectrum Center were some of the first venues in the state to receive the industry-leading GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation. The CRVA also developed and implemented “We Clean with Care,” a robust and comprehensive program created based on the guidance of the CDC, FDA and a contracted infection disease control expert.
The Charlotte Convention Center is currently undergoing a $126.9M expansion slated for completion this summer. The project will increase the convention center’s total leasable space from 550,000 to 600,000 square feet, including 14 new meeting rooms, two customizable 10,000 square-foot spaces and an overstreet pedestrian walkway to the 700-room Westin Charlotte hotel and a light rail station stop. Last year, the Bojangles Entertainment Complex (BOplex) opened a brand new 35,000 square foot connector facility, unifying the historic Bojangles Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium and enhancing the visitor experience with additional space for hospitality, new concession options and an outdoor patio.
Karen Brand is Director of Communications for the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
By Mary Klida
TCF Center hosted its first event since March 2020, recently welcoming 1,000 athletes and spectators on 16 courts for a statewide volleyball tournament. Attendees were kept safe through rigorous application of regulations by TCF Center staff and coordination with the City of Detroit Department of Health and Safety.
“We were delighted to welcome our first event since last March – 1,000 attendees statewide to a safe and competitive in-person event at TCF Center,” said Patrick Bero, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority. “Our staff did whatever was needed to create a safe environment, including having our staff join in setting up the court, to make sure everything in the center was ready to accept its first visitors.”
The ASM Global VenueShield™ program, designed by the international management company that operates TCF Center, as well as the GBAC STAR Certification Standards the center has implemented for compliance to strict environmental hygiene guidelines made the event safe for all participants.
Michigan Elite Volleyball Academy, the event organizer, brought 1,000 participants to compete in this first event.
“Thank you to the entire team at TCF Center for all of their tireless work before, during and after our event which was instrumental in making the event a success,” said Steve Sack, Owner of Michigan Elite Volleyball Academy. “It was great to see people back in TCF Center.”
Michigan Elite Volleyball Academy is hoping to return to TCF Center in April of this year.
“We learned that each event that takes place in our building during this year will require a custom health and safety plan to be developed — taking into account the special needs of each group,” said Greg DeSandy, Director of Sales and Event Services and Interim General Manager, TCF Center.
The staff at TCF Center was focused on delivering this first-class event, doing whatever was needed to make sure the athletes and spectators felt comfortable.
Claude Molinari, new CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and General Manager of TCF Center until December 31, said, “We are delighted about what this successful event says in regard to our readiness as a destination to host other events safely and effectively at TCF Center and in the Detroit area.”
Mary Klida is Senior Marketing & Communications Manager of TCF Center in Detroit, Michigan.
Hannah grew up in Tuscaloosa, AL attending events at The University of Alabama with her family sparking her lifelong love of college athletics. She began working in Athletics Facilities during her time as a student at Alabama introducing her to the idea of venue management as a career. Her love of Red Dirt Country stems from her time managing concerts at Fair Park in Dallas, TX and her love of the mountains began with her time at the US Olympic Committee. Hannah currently lives in Laramie, WY with her chocolate lab, Chief, where she works hosting a variety of events for the University of Wyoming Athletics Department.
I was incredibly excited to open the email and learn I was being honored as a part of this year’s 30 Under 30 list. IAVM is an amazing resource for young professionals in the event industry and I have enjoyed introducing colleagues who are unfamiliar with the organization as a result of being awarded.
Join your Foundation in congratulating Hannah on being honored as one of the 30|UNDER|30 Class of 2020 and don’t forget to come back each Thursday as we spotlight another honoree!