COVID-19 Response & Protocols

COVID-19 Response & Protocols

Revised 9/17/21

When GBTA Convention 2021 takes place on November 17-19, nearly 2 years will have passed since the business travel community has come together in person.  As an attendee, you can rest assured that as we plan for the industry’s flagship event the safety of our attendees is our #1 top priority.  Find out how GBTA and the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) will keep you safe during GBTA Convention 2021.

OCCC has received its Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation on outbreak prevention, response and recovery. GBAC is a division of ISSA (International Sanitary and Supply Association) and composed of international leaders in the field of microbial-pathogenic threat analysis, mitigation, response and recovery. GBAC led the effort on the SARS outbreak and was the lead agency in the eradication of Ebola. GBAC provides training, guidance, accreditation, crisis management assistance and leadership to government, commercial and private entities looking to mitigate, address and/or recover from biological threats in real-time.   

Recognized as the gold standard of safe venues, OCCC is one of the largest venues in the nation to receive the GBAC STAR™ accreditation - view the press release.


COVID-19 Protocols during Convention

Free Orange County Health Services COVID-19 Testing Sites



Watch the Video

Find out what measures OCCC, OIA and Orlando’s restaurants and hotels took to enhance safety for event attendees.

“The convention was a success, and has kickstarted the conventions industry again.”

Carolyn Martin, CM | Destination Services Sr. Manager,
Visit Orlando




GBTA understands that a portion of our attendees may be vaccinated prior to the event. The health and safety protocols established by GBTA are applicable to all attendees regardless of vaccination status. The CDC notes that we are still learning how well the vaccines keep people from spreading COVID-19 and vaccinated individuals should continue to adhere to prevention measures that reduce spread when participating in events of this size.

Many of our protocols have been elevated beyond those recommended by CDC, State of Florida, and OCCC, in order to ensure your safety and set an example for the industry. All attendees need to do their part to ensure the health and safety event participants, staff, and partners.


Building security
  • The OCCC maintains twenty-four (24) hour building security in the public halls, corridors, and grounds.
  • The Security Command Center is staffed by OCCC security officers twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week.  Security officers are on duty twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week.
  • OCCC security officers are uniformed, with the majority being First Responder-certified.
Is proof of a negative COVID-19 Test (PCR Preferred) required?
  • In accordance with CDC recommendations, GBTA requires all Convention attendees to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test (i.e., a test for current infection, either molecular or antigen) taken within the last three days prior to entry into the Convention (example - test on November 14, 2021 for November 17, 2021 entry).   While the results of any diagnostic test will be accepted, the IRF strongly recommends a PCR or Rapid Molecular Test, such as the Abbott ID Now. Attendees and guests must provide written documentation of your test result to the IRF GBTA.  Attendees are responsible for arranging and paying for this test (if applicable).   Check your local state’s health department sites to find a COVID-19 testing site near you.  If you are in Orlando early, you may test at a local CVS or Walgreens. The zip code to search for the nearest location to the OCCC is 32819.  Additional Orlando testing site information can be found at Orange County Health Services site.
Do I need to take a COVID-19 Test if I’m fully vaccinated?
  • The CDC has declared that people who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States and do not need to get tested before or after travel. Attendees may voluntarily opt out of the pre-arrival Covid-19 testing requirement by voluntarily presenting proof of vaccination.  People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.   For Convention 2021, you should receive your final dose by Friday, October 29, 2021, 2021.  Proof of vaccination is optional and if not provided, attendees are required to get a pre-event COVID-19 test as outlined above.
Will I be required to wear a mask? Will PPE wear be provided?
  • Yes, we will require masks.   Gaiters, bandanas, and wearing only a face shield will not be permitted.  GBTA will provide masks and hand sanitizer. We will monitor face-covering guidelines and will provide any updates before the Convention.
What precautions are GBTA implementing for the safety and health of attendees?
  • The health and safety of our employees and attendees is a priority.
  • On-site medical in partnership with Event Medical Services.  GBTA will work with Event Medical Services and security teams to develop COVID-19 risk plans.
  • Daily COVID-19 questionnaire before entry into the event.
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols for GBTA meeting and event spaces.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be positioned throughout the meeting space by the OCCC and GBTA.
  • Require frequent employee and vendor handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and increase monitoring to ensure adherence.  
  • No-touch policy (i.e., shaking hands and limiting contact)
  • Require the use of masks among attendees, staff, and vendors.
  • Limit attendance or seating capacity to allow for social distancing or hosting smaller events in larger rooms.
  • Manage the flow and use multiple entrances and exits and discourage crowded waiting areas.
  • Provide physical guides to ensure that individuals remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times. Appropriate Signage/floor decals to reinforce spatial distancing and other safety reminders
  • Use of shields or separators at registration and other areas as needed.
  • Socially distant food and beverage/meal set-ups.  Lunches will be individually packaged and preset.  Additional food safety plans will be developed for other food functions at the convention center.
  • Limit seating capacity, social distancing, and cleaning on GBTA hotel shuttles.  The larger convention room blocks are near the Convention center (walking distance)
  • Wider Expo hall aisles and review of booth density numbers (staff and visitors allowed based on total square footage).
  • Temporal temperature screening or thermal cameras (non-invasive) may be used to conduct temperature checks.  Anyone displaying a temperature over 100.4oF may be taken to first aid for additional temperature screening.  Employees or attendees confirmed to have a temperature over 100.4oF will not be allowed to enter any GBTA event venue and be directed to appropriate medical care.  GBTA has the right to refuse admittance into any event as we consider security and health factors.  If you have a medical condition that consistently presents a high fever or other relevant symptoms, please be sure to have a medical certificate/documentation upon arrival to share with health professionals during any screening.
  • Possible use of sanitizing tunnels.  We will monitor the current guidelines to determine the use of these units.
  • Dedicated isolation area.
  • GBTA will continue to monitor safety guidelines.  Additional safety measures will be provided before the Convention.
What precautions are the convention center implementing for the safety and health of attendees?
  • OCCC continues to monitor the situation through updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Public Health, along with direct dialogue with Orange County Government officials.
  • The OCCC has a disinfectant procedure in place for cleanings which adhere to the CDC and WHO guidance. There is also an increased number of hand sanitation sites available at the OCCC and surrounding campus, providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer for all attendees and staff.
  • The OCCC will work with the GBTA on the guidelines for specific event participants, trade shows, and conventions. In public areas, practice physical distancing by standing at least six feet away from other groups of people while standing in lines, using elevators, and moving around the property. Table rounds, chairs, seating areas, and other physical layouts will be arranged to ensure appropriate distancing. All meeting rooms will comply with or exceed local or state-mandated occupancy limits. The OCCC discourages handshakes and other forms of physical greetings.
  • OCCC conducts daily cleaning of all door handles throughout the building. The frequency of cleaning and sanitizing has been increased in all public spaces with an emphasis on frequent contact surfaces, including countertops, escalators, elevators, elevator buttons, vending machines, door handles, public bathrooms, ATMs, stair and escalator handrails, dining surfaces, all seating areas, and tables.
  •  HVAC systems will continue to remain running 24-hours a day in the front of house areas while maintaining less than 60% humidity as per industry standards. The HVAC systems in the exhibit halls will run 24-hours a day while occupied, and fresh air exhaust will be utilized during move-in and move-out. HVAC HEPA filters will be maintained and replaced every three months or as needed.
  • If the OCCC is alerted to a presumptive case of COVID-19 at the OCCC, the proper staff will work with the Florida Department of Health to follow the appropriate actions recommended.
  • Stay up to date with the Orange County Convention Center’s Coronavirus response here:
  • The OCCC’s Operational Guidelines can also be found here:
What are the precautions at Convention hotels?
  • COVID-19 and safety information for the different hotel chains can be found on the housing website.  
  • GBTA is staying up to date on all travel guidelines, considerations, and restrictions from global and local authorities. We'll be reporting any major transportation or travel announcements that impact the event on the GBTA website.  See what action TSA's taking in response to COVID-19 at
  • For further updates regarding domestic and international travel, please visit:
Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Attendee/Exhibitor Personal Safety Commitment
  • By registering and attending GBTA Convention 2021, you agree to comply with all terms and conditions, such as but not limited to standards of behavior, and engage in certain health-and-safety conduct as directed by state/local laws while attending the event.  This includes, but is not limited to, submitting to daily temperature checks/screenings, wearing a mask at all times in public areas, engaging in appropriate physical distancing, and not attending the event if you are ill or have been recently exposed to COVID-19 -19.
  • In light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19, individuals who fall within any of the categories below should not attend the GBTA Convention. By attending the GBTA Convention, you certify that you do not fall into any of the following categories:
    • Individuals who currently or within the past fourteen (14) days have experienced any symptoms associated with COVID-19, which include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, among others.
    • Individuals who have traveled at any point in the past fourteen (14) days either internationally or to a community in the U.S. that has experienced or is experiencing sustained community spread of COVID-19; or 
    • Individuals who believe that they may have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are not yet cleared as non-contagious by state or local public health authorities or the health care team responsible for their treatment.
    • I agree to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (symptoms typically include fever, cough, and shortness of breath) and contact GBTA if you experience symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days after participating in the GBTA convention.
  • Symptoms of COVID-19:

GBTA expects all attendees to comply with these elevated protocols throughout the event. Should an attendee be found violating protocols multiple times, GBTA will ask the attendee to leave the event at which point the attendee will not be allowed to return and their event registration will be cancelled. Registration cancellation may result in financial responsibility for the attendee. GBTA will not provide reimbursement or credit of any kind incurred resulting from non-compliance and cancellation. Thank you in advance for helping us demonstrate safe event protocols to the industry!


Have a question about what GBTA and the Orange County Convention Center are doing to ensure the healthy and safety of our attendees? Email