Seattle Event Permitting During COVID-19

Last updated 11/9/2020 

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.

City of Seattle Event Permitting Restrictions 

The City of Seattle is not issuing permits for major events until further notice - adhering to guidance from the State of Washington and Public Health - Seattle & King County. These include major cultural events, run/walk events, street events, festivals, and vendor fairs.

To prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in Seattle and the Puget Sound region, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued the  "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order  prohibiting public gatherings on February 29, 2020. On June 1, Governor Inslee issued his Safe Start proclamation that transitions from "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" to "Safe Start, Stay Healthy" through a county-by-county phased reopening. 

Currently, King County is in Phase 2 of the Governor's phased re-opening strategy. Under the Governor's plan, gatherings of over 50 people are not allowed until Phase 4.

Under Phase 2, all major events, run/walk events, street events, festivals and vendor fairs remain prohibited. The City of Seattle continues to monitor developments from the Governor's office, and guidance from Public Health-Seattle & King County, the Washington Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention regarding COVID-19 and all re-opening guidance.  

The Seattle Special Events Committee has approved an administrative decision to not issue Special Event Permits through January 31, 2021.  The Committee normally requires 90 days to coordinate major events, and with the expectation of more information to review with Phased health and social distancing requirements, the Committee determined that this required lead time cannot be reduced.

List of Canceled/Postponed Special Events 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Special Events office is not issuing permits for public gatherings, including protests, demonstrations, rallies, and marches, as we adhere to public health guidelines provided by the State and Public Health - Seattle & King County.   

There has been a growing interest in holding "socially distant" events, such as car parades, drive-in theaters, porch concerts, and more. While the Special Events Committee recognizes the good intentions behind creating such events, permits for public gatherings will not be issued at this time.  However, if you have confirmed with Public Health - Seattle & King County that your event may meet State and public health social distancing requirements, please contact our office to discuss the proposal. 

Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-25 which included the following directive: 

"[a]ll people in Washington State shall immediately cease participating in all public and private gatherings and multi-person activities for social, spiritual and recreational purposes, regardless of the number of people involved, except as specifically identified herein."

That Proclamation was subsequently amended by Proclamation 20-25.4 to allow a phased reopening by County, but to date, King County is in Phase 2, where all major events, run/walk events, street events, festivals and vendor fairs remain prohibited. 

Yes, the Special Events Office is accepting applications for events scheduled after January 31, 2021. Applications are due 90 days before the requested event date. Please note, there is no guaranteed approval of event dates at this time as we continue to monitor the public health impacts and guidance for addressing COVID-19 in our region.

Please contact our office to cancel your event. We will inform the Special Events Committee and related agencies of the cancelation.  

Yes, your special event permit fee can be refunded in full, excluding the non-refundable application fee. If you have paid fees to other City departments, they may be refundable.

Please contact our office to request a refund or for more information. 

The Special Events Committee is working to develop policies and procedures for rescheduling events affected by this crisis. Please contact our office for more information.  

Insurance policies vary. Please consult with your insurance provider.

Please see the City of Seattle's COVID-19 Resources Page for individual and business resources. 


The WFEA and IFEA have the most up to date information on regional and national assistance for the events industry:  

Additional useful information: