The Hot Springs Convention Center has earned accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council for establishing and maintaining controls for infectious agents such as COVID-19, according to a Visit Hot Springs news release.
The convention center was awarded GBAC Star Facility Accreditation Tuesday after submitting more than 400 pages of documentation establishing the fact that Director of Operations Jennifer Wolcott and her staff implemented a program of rigid controls for all forms of infectious agents.
Wolcott, Curtis Franklin and Zach Tucker "are to be commended for their tireless efforts to get this done," VHS CEO Steve Arrison said in the release.
"I don't expect anyone to read the 416-page document that was submitted to achieve the accreditation, but it does show what is required of meeting facilities such as ours in this new pandemic world we live in," he said.
"Only one other facility in Arkansas and only a handful nationally have achieved this designation," Arrison said. "The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau was accredited in mid-March."
"The effort put forth," Wolcott said in the release, "by Curtis and Zach and the other members of our convention services staff to meet the stringent requirements for the GBAC Star accreditation are a remarkable testament to our efforts every day to make the Hot Springs Convention Center among the safest places in the world for our customers to meet and enjoy themselves."
Accreditation means 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; has the proper cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques and work practices in place to combat biohazards and infectious disease; and highly informed cleaning professionals trained for outbreak and infectious disease preparation and response, the release said.
The GBAC Star Accreditation Program is performance-based and designed to help facilities establish a comprehensive system of cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention for their staff and their building. The program relies on GBAC's comprehensive training, which teaches the proper protocols, correct disinfection techniques and cleaning best practices for biohazard situations like the novel coronavirus, it said.
Successful GBAC Star facilities are able to demonstrate that correct work practices, procedures and systems are in place to prepare, respond and recover from outbreaks and pandemics, it said.