What to do
To hold outdoor entertainment or amplified sound you must follow City health guidelines and provide documents based on your location and type of activity.
Here are examples of what needs this permit:
- Live music like a band or DJ
- Theater, comedy or dance performance
- Fashion show
- Amplified speech
- Amplified sound without a performer, like pre-recorded music or sound on a patio
- Film/TV screening with amplified sound
This permit is not for street performers or buskers. If you are a musician or performer, you may partner with a business to host your performance, but that business must be the one to apply for the JAM permit.
You don’t need this permit if you already have approval to host outdoor entertainment at a permitted Place of Entertainment (POE) or Limited Live Performance (LLP) location.
1. Check if your planned entertainment or amplified sound will be part of an allowed activity. A JAM permit can only be approved as a part of these activities.
Activities that can get a JAM permit:
- Outdoor dining
- Outdoor gatherings
- Farmers’ markets
- Drive-in gatherings
- Outdoor fitness classes (amplified sound only - no live entertainment)
- Outdoor retail pickup (amplified sound only - no live entertainment)
- Outdoor live streaming performance (amplified sound only - no live entertainment)
- Higher education classes (amplified sound only - no live entertainment)
2. Check our rules
Everyone at the outdoor location must follow all of the City’s safety guidelines according to the activity:
- Outdoor dining guidance
- Outdoor gatherings guidance and how to have safer outdoor gatherings
- The gathering must be 2 hours or less.
- The size of small outdoor gatherings is limited to 3 households up to a maximum of 25 people total among the 3 households. If people will be eating or drinking, the gathering is limited to 3 households up to a maximum of 6 people total among the 3 households.
- Small outdoor gatherings cannot be organized or coordinated to occur at the same time and place. You may have more than one gathering but they must be at least 20 minutes apart and not simultaneous.
- Large gatherings, such as religious services and political gatherings, may have up to 200 people. You cannot serve or sell food or drinks at a large gathering.
- Farmers’ markets guidance
- Outdoor fitness classes guidance
- Drive-in gatherings guidance
- Must be 4 hours or less
- No more than 100 vehicles allowed
- Outdoor retail pick up guidance
- Outdoor live streaming performance guidance
- 12 people maximum. No in-person audience is allowed. Must be closed to the public.
- Higher education classes guidance
- No more than 14 people including the instructor
Rules for performers
- No singing, shouting, or playing wind or brass instruments. These activities increase the risk of aerosol transmission of COVID-19.
- All performers and staff have to use face coverings.
- Each performer must fit in the performance area and keep a distance of at least 6-feet from other people.
Rules for amplified sound
- You are allowed up to 6 hours per day, including soundcheck.
- You can’t play outdoor sound equipment before 9 am or after 10 pm.
- You will need to follow the approved sound limit.
Tips to prevent crowds
- Ask people who are forming groups or crowds to stop and follow physical distancing guidelines.
- Keep the area of your activity clean, and revise to-go services and line practices to discourage loitering.
- Call 311 if you need help.
3. Get the permit or approval to use the outdoor property
You must get one of these permits depending on where you want to offer entertainment or amplified sound.
- To use a City sidewalk, parking lane or street, you need a Shared Spaces Permit. You may also use an existing Café Tables and Chairs Permit for a sidewalk or a Parklet Permit from Public Works.
- For private outdoor business property, like a parking lot, patio, rooftop or yard, you need a Shared Spaces Permit for private property. If your business had approval from the Planning Department to use your private outdoor property before the pandemic (for example, for outdoor dining), then you don’t need a Shared Spaces permit.
- If you want to use Port of SF or Treasure Island property, you need a permit from them.
We will need you to provide a copy of this permit or approval.
4. Gather your documents
We will ask you to upload a:
- Health and safety plan depending on your activity
- Social distancing protocol
- Copy of your permit or approval to use the outdoor space or property. This could be a Shared Spaces permit that shows your business name, location, and what has been approved.
- Diagram of the location of your activity. Show the location of the performance area and its dimensions, and the location of speakers and the audience. Include the distance (in feet) between the audience, performers, and staff.
5. Apply to provide entertainment or amplified sound in an outdoor space
In the application, you will need to agree to rules and responsibilities.
It will take about 30 minutes.
We will send you a confirmation email and information about what to do next.
6. Wait for our email
A decision letter will be sent to your email address in 7-14 business days. If we need more information from you, we will reach out using the contact information you provided.
7. Get your permit
We will work with you to issue a permit and make sure you follow all safety rules.
If your business location does not currently have an Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) permit, you will not be able to serve alcohol outdoors at this time. Currently, ABC is only allowing an existing licensed premise to expand its premises into an adjacent area for on-site consumption.
If a bar wants to serve alcohol outdoors:
- Alcohol must be served with a meal provided by a licensed food vendor. A bar may partner with a food vendor.
- You will need a temporary food permit from Public Health.
- You will also need to have a permit from Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC), approved by the Local Police District Station.
Alcohol may not be sold at a drive-in gathering.
Use Shared Spaces street closure for entertainment
If you plan on having entertainment or amplified sound in a Shared Spaces street closure, at this time, it must comply with outdoor dining:
- If a community based organization holds the Shared Spaces street closure permit, then that organization must partner with an outdoor dining establishment on the street being closed to hold the entertainment/amplified sound. In addition, that same establishment must have a valid Shared Spaces or a Cafe Tables & Chairs Permit for their outdoor dining
- The performers should follow the Social Distancing Protocol and perform only for the audience in the outdoor dining area.
Check the rules for performers and tips to avoid crowds on step 2 of this page.
Last updated October 28, 2020