Canadian conference centres, airports, stadiums join rush for anti-pandemic status

Canadian conference centres, airports, stadiums join rush for anti-pandemic status
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CALGARY — Operators of conference centres, airports and stadiums in Canada are joining a global rush to be certified as pandemic-resistant while they compete for events that will bring billions of dollars in economic benefits to their host cities.

Convention centres in Edmonton and Calgary, along with Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium and Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport, have reported achieving GBAC Star accreditation international cleaning industry association ISSA.

Calgary Telus Convention Centre CEO Kurby Court says he is fielding booking inquiries for events to take place three or four years from now.

That’s potentially long after a vaccine for COVID-19 has been developed, but Court says clients still want to be reassured the city is safe before they commit to visiting.

The accreditation is designed to show training has taken place and there’s a proven system of cleaning, disinfection and disease prevention for staff and the building itself to head off biohazards like the novel coronavirus.

Illinois-based ISSA says its program has been adopted by more than 250 facilities and more than 3,000 more are seeking accreditation.

“People spend a lot of time inside our terminal building when they travel, the same way they do when they go to a convention center or a stadium,” said Trudeau International spokeswoman Anne-Sophie Hamel, adding it has also been certified under a program from Airport Councils International.

“Those accreditations prove that (the airport) will be ready to welcome more passengers in the terminal, as soon as the borders open, and shows our deep commitment to keeping people safe and confident for their future travels.”

She said the airport is expecting about 71 per cent fewer passengers this year than in 2019.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 13, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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