COVID-19 Updates: Learn about our health & safety protocols and our temporary shelter operation.

San Diego Convention Center Becomes One of the First Convention Centers in the Nation to Receive GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation

San Diego Convention Center Becomes One of the First Convention Centers in the Nation to Receive GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation

San Diego Convention Center Exterior
The performance-based accreditation program is widely regarded as the cleaning industry’s gold standard for facilities.

(San Diego, CA–July 16, 2020) Today the San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) became one of the first convention centers in the United States to achieve the prestigious GBAC STAR™ facility accreditation. Under the guidance of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), SDCC is implementing a program of stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention.

“The San Diego Convention Center is one of San Diego’s largest economic drivers. This accreditation is an important step to assuring our guests that when it is time to reopen, San Diego will be working diligently to have one of the safest venues in the nation,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “From the moment we began learning about COVID-19, our Center’s team has been committed to following all protocols and taking proactive measures to enhance their already top-notch safety standards.”

To achieve this third-party validation, SDCC demonstrated compliance with the program’s 20 core elements, which range from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment (PPE) and emergency preparedness measures. Created by leaders from distinguished health organizations, the program is designed to allow organizations the flexibility to update and enhance plans as additional scientific data becomes available about COVID-19 transmission.

“Our San Diego Convention Center team continues to demonstrate leadership in the industry. Our center was one of only six convention centers nationwide that GBAC invited to participate in a task force to develop industry-specific considerations and protocol templates for extending their esteemed accreditation program to our sector,” said Karen Totaro, SDCC’s Chief Operating Officer.

“In light of COVID-19, this detailed process ensures the participating facilities have considered all areas of risk and are meeting strict standards to support a safe and healthy environment for employees, partners, clients and guests.”

The Convention Center staff, working alongside the City of San Diego, County of San Diego, San Diego Housing Commission, Regional Task Force on the Homeless and homeless services providers has played a vital role in protecting San Diego’s homeless population during the pandemic. In April 2020, SDCC began serving as a temporary shelter for San Diegans in need. By following strict cleaning and prevention guidelines, the shelter team has been able to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

GBAC is a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. ISSA Executive Director John Barrett noted the short- and long-term relevance of the accreditation program, which can be scaled to various sizes and types of public assembly venues. Stadiums, performing arts venues, religious buildings, airports, hotels and commercial office buildings are among the venues participating in the program or in the process of becoming accredited.

“The way the world views cleaning has changed overnight. To effectively recover from this crisis and prepare for the next, it’s essential for public facilities like the San Diego Convention Center to take these necessary steps. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the GBAC STAR accreditation program is exactly what facilities need to confidently reopen and keep staff, customers, and communities safe,” Barrett said.

The San Diego Convention Center is currently closed to events. Ongoing updates about reopening plans will be published to SDCC’s website at

Media Contact:

Maren Dougherty, San Diego Convention Center or 619.782.4390

Press Images:

About the San Diego Convention Center

The San Diego Convention Center is the region’s premier gathering place, hosting conventions, trade shows and community events that economically benefit the City of San Diego and advance the region's convention and tourism industry. The San Diego Convention Center Corporation is a public benefit corporation created by the City of San Diego to exclusively manage, market and operate the 2.6 million sq. ft. waterfront facility. For details, see or connect via Twitter @sdconventionctr, Instagram @sdconventionctr or Facebook/sdconventioncenter.

About GBAC, 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 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

About ISSA 

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. 

Official Corporate Partners of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation: