Provide entertainment or amplified sound in an outdoor space

Apply for a Just Add Music (JAM) permit for Shared Spaces, outdoor dining, small gatherings, outdoor fitness classes, farmer’s markets, and other activities.

What to do

Starting December 6, outdoor dining, drive-in gatherings, and small outdoor gatherings with more than 1 household are not allowed until further notice. Outdoor fitness and higher education classes are limited. Farmer's markets are allowed.  Read the Regional Stay Home Order for complete rules. Outdoor entertainment and amplified sound need to follow the health order. 

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) premises.

This permit is not for activity on SF Recreation and Parks Department or National Park Service property. Submit your request to them directly. 

1. Check if your planned entertainment or amplified sound is part of an allowed activity

A Just Add Music (JAM) permit can only be approved as a part of these activities:

  • Outdoor dining - Suspended.
  • Outdoor gatherings - Suspended In Part. Gathering with people from other households is prohibited. Outdoor gatherings away from home with people from the same household are limited to 12 people total or 6 people if eating or drinking. Religious service gatherings and political protest gatherings are allowed up to 200 people. 
  • Farmers' markets
  • Drive-in gatherings - Suspended.
  • Outdoor fitness classes (amplified sound only, no live entertainment) - Reduced Capacity: Limited to 12 people including staff.
  • Outdoor retail pickup (amplified sound only, no live entertainment) - Curbside Pick-Up Only.
  • Outdoor live streaming performance
  • Higher education classes (amplified sound only, no live entertainment - Suspended In Part. If the class or training is for essential work and it cannot be taught remotely, in-person is allowed.  

2. Check our rules

Everyone at the outdoor location must follow all of the City’s safety guidelines according to the activity:
 

Rules for performers

  • No singing, shouting, or playing wind or brass instruments, except for a religious service or political protest. In those cases, only one performer may sing, shout, or play wind or brass instruments at any given time. That performer must stay at least 12 feet away from any other person. For more details on rules for performers, including a requirement to cover the bell or holes of wind instruments, view Gathering Tips.
  • All performers, staff, and patrons have to wear face coverings.
  • Each performer must fit in the performance area and keep a distance of at least 6-feet from other people. If any performer is on the sidewalk, make sure they are at least 6 feet from the sidewalk path of travel, and there is a clear 6 foot path of travel on the sidewalk for pedestrians. 

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.

Accessibility rules

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.

 

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). 

4. Apply to provide entertainment or amplified sound in an outdoor space

Read the Regional Stay Home Order before applying to see if your entertainment is a part of an allowed activity.  

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.

5. Print and post your public health forms

You will need to follow the health and safety plan for your activity as well as a social distancing protocol. 

You will have to post the forms at your location in a visible place.

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.

Special cases

Serving alcohol

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 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.

Get help

Entertainment Commission
49 South Van Ness Suite 1482
San Francisco, CA 94103

Staff are currently working remotely

Phone

Last updated December 15, 2020