Visit Frisco helps local venues with safety accreditation to attract travelers

The National Soccer Hall of Fame is among the local facilities pursuing the GBAC STAR Accreditation. (Elizabeth Uclés/Community Impact Newspaper)
The National Soccer Hall of Fame is among the local facilities pursuing the GBAC STAR Accreditation. (Elizabeth Uclés/Community Impact Newspaper)

The National Soccer Hall of Fame is among the local facilities pursuing the GBAC STAR Accreditation. (Elizabeth Uclés/Community Impact Newspaper)

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The Ford Center at The Star and the Omni Frisco Hotel are among the local facilities pursuing the GBAC STAR Accreditation. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
Many of Frisco’s hotels and tourist destinations are pursuing an accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council to help travelers feel safe about returning to the city.

The GBAC STAR Accreditation Program helps organizations offer training and set protocols and procedures for biorisk situations. Achieving the accreditation ensures facilities use best practices to limit future outbreaks and gives cleaning staff the ability to do their jobs safely and effectively, according to the GBAC.

Visit Frisco Executive Director Marla Roe said all of the city’s sports facilities and attractions are in the process of pursuing the accreditation, as are most of Frisco’s hotels.

“It's a 20-step process that allows us to have one unified message for marketing,” Roe said during the Aug. 18 Frisco City Council meeting. “It takes people through not only the cleanliness process, but they go one step further in infection control. Hopefully it'll give travelers some comfort that we've gone over and above against COVID[-19] and other things.”

In 2018, an estimated 6.6 million visitors spent $2.1 billion in the city, according to Visit Frisco. Of that, more than $930 million was spent on retail at venues such as Stonebriar Centre. A quarter of that visitor spending went to food and beverage purchases, and just under 10% was spent on recreation and entertainment. Visitors also spent more than $220 million on lodging in the city.

Among the local attractions that are pursuing the accreditation are Ford Center at The Star, Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, Hyatt Regency Frisco, the Frisco Discovery Center, Omni Frisco Hotel, Toyota Stadium and the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Fans were allowed to attend FC Dallas soccer matches at Toyota Stadium on Aug. 12 and Aug. 16 at reduced capacity. Gina Miller, vice president of media and communications for FC Dallas, said the organization has been focused on making sure Toyota Stadium and the National Soccer Hall of Fame are clean and sanitized on many levels.

“We want to be a part of the entire effort with the city of Frisco and our counterparts at other sports franchises just to let everybody know that we're thinking about this, and we're putting the safety of our guests first and foremost in terms of our operations,” Miller said about pursuing the accreditation.

Omni Frisco Hotel General Manager Jeff Smith said his organization has developed new policies, implemented updated cleaning efforts and introduced social distancing measures.

“Omni Frisco Hotel’s commitment to service has never wavered, and we’re committed to be part of the GBAC STAR accreditation,” Smith said in a statement. “As one of the leading businesses in Frisco, our hotel is known for its superior service and hospitality, and we continue to welcome guests with best in class guidelines and industry standards.”

The GBAC STAR accreditation process requires facilities to comply with the program’s 20 elements. Those are:

• Organizational roles, responsibilities, and authorities;

• Facility commitment statement;

• Sustainability and continuous improvement;

• Conformity and compliance;

• Goals, objectives and targets;

• Program controls and monitoring;

• Risk assessment and risk mitigation strategies;

• Standard operating procedures;

• Tools and equipment;

• Cleaning and disinfection chemicals;

• Inventory control and management;

• Personal protective equipment;

• Waste management;

• Personnel training and competency;

• Emergency preparedness and response;

• Facility infection disease prevention practices;

• Worker health program;

• Audits and inspections;

• Control of suppliers; and

• Documentation management.

"We applaud Visit Frisco for supporting its community with GBAC STAR facility accreditation," GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger said in a statement. "GBAC STAR provides third-party validation for facilities to demonstrate that they implement strict protocols for biorisk situations, which will help Frisco facilities and businesses instill greater confidence among customers, employees and visitors."

An informational video about the accreditation process is available here.
By William C. Wadsack

Editor, Plano

William joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2019. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana.