What to do
Businesses with JAM Permits: Read this if you want to continue hosting entertainment after March 2023.
The JAM Permit program expires on March 31, 2023. Check back in January 2023 for permitting instructions to host a temporary event taking place after March 2023.
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 a JAM 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 the following:
- Activity on SF Recreation and Parks Department (Golden Gate Park or Mission Dolores Park, for example), National Park Service or Presidio Trust property. Submit your request to them directly.
- 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.
- Activity on residential property.
- 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) premises.
1. Check our rules
While most pandemic rules have been removed, some rules are still in effect. Everyone at the outdoor location must follow any local and state health guidelines as applicable. Here are the latest updates (not a complete list):
- Everyone should get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 if eligible.
- Even though reduced capacity restrictions have been removed, the location’s original occupancy load requirements must be maintained.
- The City strongly encourages individuals to wear masks when they are in crowded outdoor spaces, such as parades, fairs and outdoor concerts, and sporting events. Learn more about masks.
- Physical distancing is no longer required for attendees, customers, or guests.
- Mega Outdoor Events (over 10,000 people) are strongly urged - but no longer required - to continue to follow the recommendations in the State’s Post-Blueprint Guidance for Mega-Events.
- Required Signage: All SF businesses must post signage about COVID-19 prevention and getting vaccinated.
Rules for amplified sound
- You are allowed up to 6 hours per day, including soundcheck. See exceptions below. A request for amplified sound on multiple days of the week may not be approved or may be limited after permit issuance due to multiple considerations including density of existing permits, nearby sensitive receptors, and prior complaints.
- You can’t play outdoor sound equipment before 9 am or after 10 pm. See exceptions below.
- You will need to follow the approved sound limit.
Requesting an exception: In some cases for a temporary event, the Entertainment Commission may allow exceptions to the number of hours and times of day/night. A hearing may be required. In your application, explain why you wish to be granted an exception and how you are conducting meaningful neighborhood outreach to any affected residents and businesses
- Follow accessibility rules to use the sidewalk or parking lane for your business
- Remove or cover up any trip hazards, like wires.
2. 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 one of the following:
- 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 ask you to upload a copy of your permit in the application form, except if you have a Shared Spaces permit (we don't need a copy of that permit).
3. Apply for the JAM permit
In the application, you will need to agree to rules and responsibilities. You will need to give detailed responses to the security plan questions; short, one-sentence answers will not be accepted.
It will take about 30 minutes. We will send you a confirmation email and information about what to do next.
Looking to amend your existing JAM permit? Email us your requested changes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not submit a new application.
4. 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.
5. Get your permit
We will work with you to issue a permit and make sure you follow all safety rules.
Last updated September 9, 2022