Use private property for your business

A free, temporary Shared Spaces permit for your business to use outdoor space on private property like rear yards, vacant lots, parking lots, and patios.

What to do

1. Check our rules

You must follow City rules to use outdoor space for your business: 

  • Follow physical distancing protocols 

  • Display a copy of the permit during business hours 

  • Comply with all laws requiring accessibility for people with disabilities (see our guidance on how to make your Shared Space accessible)

  • Ensure the space and services do not interfere with the accessibility of the public open space to people with disabilities 

  • Keep curb ramps, doors, driveways, fire escapes, and Fire Department connections free of obstructions 

  • Keep furniture in the approved area 

  • Do not block the sidewalk next to a bus stop, blue curb zone, white curb zone, or bike rack 

  • Have a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance coverage

This does not authorize conduct that is prohibited by orders or directives of the Health Officer.

2. Decide how to use your space and take photos

You can use the outdoor space for: 

  • Physical distancing space for you customers to stand in line 

  • Retail space 

  • Seating or dining

Take photos of your proposed space. You will upload these with your application.

3. Talk to the property owner to use the space

If you want to use space on a neighboring property or a property you do not own, you will need permission from that property owner or their designated agent.  

If they agree, you must upload a screenshot or scan of their written permission with your application.  

We will also need their name, address, and contact information (email or phone).

4. Look up your block and lot numbers

We need to know the block and lot number of the property you want to use.

Look it up in our Property Information Map.

Search with the location address.

The block and lot will appear on the property tab.

5. Apply

We will ask you about: 

  • Your business location 

  • The address and block and lot of the space you want to use

  • Your contact information 

  • Your business location and information 

  • How you will use the space 

You will also upload:  

  • Screenshot or scan of property owner’s written permission 

  • Photos of the proposed outdoor space 

It will take about 15 minutes. 

We will email you a copy of your application and information about what to do next. 

6. After you apply

We will email you in 3 business days to let you know if your business is eligible or not and notify you of the next steps.

Special cases

Entertainment or amplified sound outdoors

Entertainment or amplified sound outdoors

If you want to have entertainment or amplified sound outdoors, you will have to apply for a Just Add Music (JAM) permit for Shared Spaces, outdoor dining, small gatherings, outdoor fitness classes, farmer’s markets, and other activities held outside. 

Serving alcohol

Serving alcohol

This permit alone does not allow you to serve alcohol outdoors. 

If you want to serve alcohol in your outdoor space, apply for a  COVID-19 temporary catering authorization with the California State Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. Once you obtain a temporary catering authorization from the State, alcohol may be served outdoors in conjunction with this Shared Spaces Permit. 

Business with multiple locations

Business with multiple locations

If your business has more than one location, you must apply for each location individually. 



The City may visit your business location to inspect your approved area, especially if we receive complaints or concerns.

We may revoke your permit. A business may appeal the decision to the Director of the Planning Department within 15 calendar days. We will hold a virtual Planning Director’s Hearing for the appeal of revocation.



Report a violation of sidewalk or parking lane use. We will investigate and try to resolve the situation. 

Outdoor heating fixtures require an additional permit

Outdoor heating fixtures require an additional permit

Space heaters cannot be placed under overhead canopies. They must have a 5 foot clearance from any flammable materials.

Apply for an Operational Permit for an outdoor heating fixture with SF Fire.

Get help

Last updated October 6, 2022