Special Event Permitting Update

Posted September 16

The Special Events Committee is currently accepting all applications for events that require a Special Event Permit. Any event with over 10,000 people must submit a comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation plan with their Special Event Permit application.

Beginning October 25, 2021, across King County, in addition to face coverings every person is required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or negative test within 72 hours, to enter:

  • Outdoor events with 500 people or more (such as professional and collegiate sports and entertainment events)
  • Indoor recreational events or establishments regardless of size (such as professional and collegiate sports, performing arts and live music venues, movie theaters, museums, gyms, and conventions)
  • Restaurants and bars. This does not apply to outdoor dining, take-out customers, and places that aren't primarily used for indoor dining such as grocery stores. Small restaurants and bars, defined as those with seating capacity for less than 12 people, will phase in on December 6, 2021.

You can find more information on this new King County policy at www.kingcounty.gov/verify.   

Posted July 2

On June 30, 2021 Washington State re-opened under the "Washington Ready Plan."

The Special Events Committee is currently accepting all applications for events that require a Special Event Permit.

Staffing limitations within SPD has reduced the department's ability to provide the historic level of public safety supports to permitted events. As we work within existing capacity, the City will have to prioritize event applications based on level of public safety staffing needs. The Special Events Committee encourages event organizers to work together to stagger events so that the City can maximize the availability of city resources to adequately support event activities.

Priority for special events permits will be given to First Amendment, historic events, and all events focused on economic recovery, reopening and community resilience during this time. The Special Events Committee will also make every effort to provide permits to events with neighborhood and business district community, cultural, and economic benefit.

The Committee will work with SPD and event organizers to mitigate the need for public safety staffing as much as possible and provide support to event organizers in modifying events to achieve this goal.

Any event with over 10,000 people must submit a comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation plan with their Special Event Permit application, and must assign a dedicated COVID-19 site supervisor responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the plan.

To assist event producers in the development of COVID-19 Health & Action Management Plans, the Special Events office and Committee has published a toolkit which acts as a resource guide, check-list and framework of criteria that should be addressed in the plan. If changes in COVID-19 conditions in Washington State or King County make it necessary, in the public interest, Special Event Permits will be suspended or reverted to COVID safety conditions and restrictions.

About the Office of Special Events

The City of Seattle plays a strong role in helping event planners bring people together safely and successfully in both city-wide and neighborhood events. Within this site are guidelines and requirements, event calendars, and contact information.

During both good and difficult times for the City of Seattle, special events help build a sense of belonging and community pride.

Special events such as fairs, arts, art-centered performances, festivals, concerts, sporting activities and others, bring people together from different backgrounds and different neighborhoods throughout the city. Together our citizens share a day, a week or an hour of transformation, laughter and fun. Special events weave the fabric of our community by creating opportunities to interact, celebrate, enrich people's lives, promote inclusiveness, and stretch imaginations.

Special events build family traditions, opportunities to participate, inclusiveness and unique experiences. Special events provide a chance for neighbors and strangers, big communities and small groups to interact and have common experiences.

It is important that the City of Seattle play a strong role in encouraging and helping events that bring the community together to take place safely on its streets and in its parks. These events encourage and support the interaction of neighbors, friends, families and strangers in addition to providing positive economic impact. It is essential that the City of Seattle encourage and support the safe interaction of neighbors, friends, families and strangers through the shared experience of special events. Special events create wonderful memories and provide the bonding that every community needs for economic and emotional growth.

As a dynamic city, Seattle has many constitutionally protected free speech events. One purpose of these guidelines is to assist event organizers in exercising their constitutional rights balanced with the City's right to regulate the time, place, and manner of special events in order to protect public health and safety, to reduce adverse impacts on the public places and neighboring areas, and to protect the rights of other users of our public places.

The Seattle Special Events Office processes applications for review by the Special Events Committee and the City's Special Event Coordinator serves as your primary contact with the Seattle Special Events Committee.