COVID-19 Film Guidance and Updates

Seattle Film Permitting During COVID-19
Last updated 06/03/2020

The emergence of Coronavirus - also known as COVID-19 - as an international public health pandemic has prompted governments, employers, schools, labor organizations and families across the globe to take action to protect life and safety.

As part of this effort, film permits are included under the current State, County, and City of Seattle public gathering and permit restrictions.

City of Seattle Film Permitting Restrictions
To prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Seattle and Puget Sound Region, Washington Govenor Jay Inslee has extended the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order and released a Phased Approach to opening. At this time, Seattle Film Permits are suspended until permissions are granted for film production as part of the Phased Approach.

Non-Seattle Film Permitting Restrictions
For information about regional and State filming restrictions, please contact:

Frequently Asked Questions
My shoot was canceled. How do I get my shoot scheduled in advance with the film office?
Was your Shoot postponed or rescheduled due to COVID-19? Please still reach out to the Film Office to plan your shoot for a future date!

While an end date for the COVID-19 crisis remains unclear - the Film Office can still help you plan and troubleshoot for a potential future project that will take place on city property, even if you don't know the date just yet. Once things calm down a bit we are expecting a large influx of permits, and you can get ahead of the rush by discussing the plans for your shoot with the Film Permit Specialist now.

Applications can be filed ahead of time via our online portal, and dates can be changed when you finalize your shoot date - no fees are involved! This is a great way to ensure productions can hit the ground running when business is back to normal. Please contact the Film Permit Specialist at filmoffice@seattle.gov to discuss your project today.

How can I get information on relief efforts for the industry?
Washington Filmworks - Washington's Film Industry and the Coronavirus
This contains contact information and additional resources for filmmakers to help navigate the outbreak of COVID-19 in our region. This document will be updated regularly with information that is specific to the film industry, so please check back often.

King County Creative Handbook
King County Creative has published a new online COVID-19 Response Handbook for Creatives in an effort to keep comprehensive, up-to-date public health information circulating through the cultural and creative communities in our region during COVID-19 and beyond.

Whipsmart: Resources for WA Creatives and Creative Businesses
Whipsmart is a new creative economy-focused nonprofit that gives creative professionals the tools they need to succeed by meeting them where they're at. They've compiled an extensive, continously updated, COVID-19 Resource guide for creatives and creative businesses.

Have any local film productions shut down over COVID-19 concerns?
Yes. Beginning March 6, film productions that had permits in process with the City of Seattle began cancelling or rescheduling due to COVID-19 concerns. The Office of Film + Music has not issued a permit for production since March 13, and we are also hearing anecdotal feedback that most, if not all, productions are cancelling or postponing.

Is on-location filming conducive to the spread of Coronavirus?
A film set, like any workplace, is an environment in which communicable illnesses can spread. Individuals employed on film sets can minimize their exposure by following the guidance of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Public Health - Seattle King County (PHSKC).

Are permit fee refunds available if my production is canceled due to COVID-19?
The Film Office does not invoice productions for permits until after they have wrapped - so you will not have to worry about fees associated with cancelled shoots. If shoots hired Parks Department or Police staffing, those fees are paid in advance, and refunds are subject to specific department polices.