WEST ALLIS — Ribbons and medals are common at the state fair, but this year the fair itself is getting a seal of approval. The Wisconsin State Fair Park is one of just 11 in the Milwaukee area to be certified as a Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR facility (GBAC STAR).
The designation comes after state fair officials submitted a 70 page document of their cleaning and safety protocols. GBAC says facilities must establish and maintain a cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention programs minimize risks from COVID-19. It must also use proper cleaning protocols and disinfection techniques. And, train staff in outbreak and infectious disease prevention and response.
“It’s really a rigorous process to become a GBAC STAR accredited facility and the entire fair park is GBAC STAR accredited, including all of our facilities and all of our buildings” said Tess Kerksen, Public Relations Manager for the State Fair. She points to the shortened fair hours and extended cleaning hours as part of the fair’s dedication to safety.
Masks are optional at the fair the fair this year, but recommended for the indoor exhibits. Many families TMJ4 News spoke with that were wearing masks, were doing it for kids who are too young to be vaccinated. “Main reason for the masks is our son isn’t vaccinated yet. So just solidarity with him and keeping him safe” said Joe Aschebrock. Sahvana Williams said “I just wanted to protect the family more so I chose to wear the mask today.”
The accreditation program is paid for by the fair. Facilities pay anywhere from $500 to $15,000 to be considered for the accreditation. It lasts one year and the facility would have to re-apply next year. Fiserv Forum, American Family Field, and the Pfister Hotel are some of the others GBAC STAR facilities in the Milwaukee area.