COVID-19 Film Guidance and Updates

Seattle Film Permitting During COVID-19
Last updated 04/03/2020

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

Film permits are considered work permits and not public gathering permits, and thus do not fall under the current State, County, and City of Seattle public gathering or permit restrictions.

City of Seattle Film Permitting Restrictions
Per Governor Inslee's April 2, 2020 announcement - the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order has been extended to May 4, 2020. Seattle is suspending all film permits until after the order is lifted.

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.

What is the film office doing to track all the jobs lost because of the Coronavirus, and how can I get information on relief efforts for the industry?
Washington Filmworks - Film crew survey on loss of work
If you are a cast or crew member in the statewide film industry who has experienced lost wages because of a delay in production, we want to hear from you. To better understand how our statewide film community has been impacted, we want to capture information about lost opportunities via this short survey. The information that you provide will give us powerful tools to help advocate on behalf of the film industry now and in the future. And please share the survey with others who are impacted in your community.

Washington Filmworks - Film Companies Survey of Loss of Work
If you are a production company or a company that provides goods and services to the film industry and you have experiene lost wages because of a delay in production, we want to hear from you. The information that you provide in this survey will give us powerful information to help advocate on behalf of the film industry now and in the future.

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 BusinessesWhipsmart 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.