S.F. announces temporary permit program for outdoor music and entertainment

Shaniqua Juliano

Tom Ayres performs with the Red Room Orchestra in the parking lot of Curio and the Chapel in San Francisco on Aug. 15. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney, The Chronicle San Francisco is enacting a new temporary permit program for outdoor entertainment and amplified sound, Mayor London Breed announced Friday, Sept. 25. The new […]

Tom Ayres performs with the Red Room Orchestra in the parking lot of Curio and the Chapel in San Francisco on Aug. 15. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney, The Chronicle

San Francisco is enacting a new temporary permit program for outdoor entertainment and amplified sound, Mayor London Breed announced Friday, Sept. 25. The new Just Add Music permit, known as JAM, will cover entertainment in shared spaces and other outdoor locations that are seeing dramatically more activity during the pandemic.

The permit “provides a free and streamlined pathway for the arts, entertainment, and nightlife sectors to support their business livelihoods by adding music and other cultural activity in a way that is safe and follows public health guidelines,” according to a city statement.

The measure appears to be an enhancement to the city’s ongoing Shared Spaces program, primarily aimed at outdoor dining and retail spaces that forced to move their operations outside. It allows businesses to use a portion of shared sidewalks, streets or other nearby public or private spaces for dining and retail activity, as allowed by San Francisco’s Public Health Order.

Included on the list of activities that would require the JAM permit are outdoor fitness classes, farmers markets and drive-in gatherings.

“This program will provide some much-needed relief for businesses that are looking for ways to safely offer outdoor entertainment and music and survive the economic challenges of COVID-19,” said Breed. “San Francisco is a world-class entertainment city and we are fortunate to have a diverse entertainment and nightlife culture — we can’t let COVID take that away from us.”

Classical Revolution performs outdoors outside Amado’s on June 20 in San Francisco. Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle

The temporary permit is required for places that plan to host live music, stage theater and dance performances, or show film and television screenings with amplified sound. It does not apply to places that already have approval to host outdoor entertainment.

Additionally, performers are not allowed to sing, shout or play wind or brass instruments. These activities increase the risk of aerosol transmission of COVID-19. All performers must wear face coverings and keep a distance of at least 6-feet from other people.

“Arts and entertainment will be the main driver of San Francisco’s economic and cultural recovery, not just a part of it,” Entertainment Commission President Ben Bleiman said in a statement. “JAM permits are a crucial step for the survival of venues, artists, and performers across the city.”




  • Aidin Vaziri

    Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle’s pop music critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @MusicSF

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