No one knows if fans will be allowed in Lincoln Financial Field this season, but whenever they’re allowed back, the Eagles are going to make sure fans are safe.
The Eagles on Wednesday will announce that Lincoln Financial Field has achieved GBAC STAR facility accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a Division of ISSA.
Basically, this means the Eagles have attained a gold-standard third-party validation for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think as a whole, as an organization, we’ve always had the support from Jeffrey (Lurie) and Don (Smolenski) to be leaders in whatever it is that we do,” said Eagles VP of facilities operations Ryan Hummel.
“The cleaning aspect of the building hadn’t been something we looked to certify in the past. We received LEED Gold certification in 2018, which sustainability has always been a huge focus for us. Also on the security side we also received the SAFETY Act earlier this year, which was about a two-year process.
“I think cleaning and housekeeping was generally just the next bucket for us to look at and to see if we were doing everything we could to make sure that we’re one of the top-notch facilities in the country."
The process to get Lincoln Financial Field accredited began back in April and there has been a virtual back-and-forth with GBAC in the four months since. Lincoln Financial Field had to demonstrate compliance with the 20 core elements of the GBAC STAR program, which include standard operating procedures, risk assessment strategies and emergency preparedness.
While GBAC doesn’t necessarily make suggestions to its clients, they validate and certify that the processes the company is using are top-notch and sustainable. GBAC claims the program will enable facilities to:
- Establish a cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention program
- Provide assurance that proper cleaning, disinfection and infectious diseases prevention practices are implemented
- Establish a framework for communication and awareness of the best cleaning practices
According to Hummel, getting the Linc accredited was more of a validation of the practices they were already using.
“But I also think for everyone else to know we are that type of building, that is definitely comforting for them,” he said.
Hard Rock Stadium in Florida was the first public facility to commit to earning GBAC STAR accreditation and became the first NFL stadium to receive the accreditation back in July. The Eagles began with Lincoln Financial Field but will now look at possibly gaining accreditation for the NovaCare Complex as well.
Patty Olinger, the executive director of the GBAC, compared the accreditation to the Good Housekeeping seal of approval but for cleaning and disinfecting.
“They want to be able to tell the community what they have in place is what needs to be in place so the employees of the arena will have confidence to come back to the stadium,” Olinger said to NBC Sports Philadelphia in the spring.
“What we are is a third party validation or verification accreditation program, the top of the line gold standard for cleaning disinfection, and what we're looking at is the prevention measures, social distancing requirements, temperature monitoring in place, going to implement that program. And so we help them through those processes that they're doing. And at the end, they would then become an accredited facility.”
One of the main elements the Eagles worked on with the GBAC was with equipment and supplies, specifically the chemicals they’re using and the contact times needed to kill COVID-19.
And in addition to that, the Eagles have also added elements to Lincoln Financial Field that have been recommended by the CDC and WHO. There are hand sanitizer stations throughout the stadium and increased signage. During game days, at least for now, there are just a few hundred staffers inside the stadium.
Earlier this year, though, Lurie said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of having fans back in the stadium at some point this season. It’s still unclear if that will happen. But eventually, there will be fans in the Linc again.
And when they’re allowed back in, the Eagles want them to feel safe.
“Our goal from an operations side,” Hummel said, “is to be ready, provide a safe, clean and friendly environment for whoever is in the building and the number of people who do come to an Eagles game.”