Film Permits Under COVID-19

CONDITIONS FOR FILM PERMITTING UNDER THE SAN FRANCISCO ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER

(08/31/2020)

Film SF/San Francisco Film Commission is issuing permits to productions seeking to engage in film production within San Francisco in accordance with the Order of the Health Officer provided productions are able to meet the following guidelines:

  • Crew, cast, and personnel on location is limited to the fewest number of people needed (up to a maximum of 12 people). Productions may have more than 12 people working on their project but a max of 12 can only be in one location at a given time. A location is defined as an area where the production is staging, prepping, filming, or wrapping.
  • All crew, cast, and personnel on location must comply with social distancing, face covering, and sanitation requirements as noted in the Order of the Health Officer.
  • If filming outdoors, talent can remove face covering while filming but must remain 6 feet from other talent, crew, personnel, and the public at all times (see question below regarding May 28 order). Note: singing is not allowed outdoors unless the singer is at least 30 feet from all crew, cast, personnel, and public.
  • If filming indoors, the location must be (and remain) closed to the public in addition to the applicable requirements noted above. Note: no one is allowed to remove face coverings for interior locations, including talent, under the current Order of the Health Officer and singing is not allowed indoors.
  • Cast, crew, and personnel arriving to/from location must wear facial coverings and maintain 6 feet distance, to the extent possible, from each other while in transit. If traveling in a vehicle, windows should be left open whenever possible to increase ventilation.
  • At this time, make-up application is not permitted due to the necessary removal of the face-covering by talent and close proximity to make-up artist.  Hair is allowed, provided talent and hair stylists both wear face coverings.

***PLEASE READ ALL FAQs BELOW BEFORE SUBMITTING A PERMIT APPLICATION***

Note: Film SF/Film Commission does not have the authority to issue permits for:

  1. Private locations (although you must comply with the Order of the Health Officer)
  2. SF Recreation & Parks jurisdictions
  3. Golden Gate National Recreation Area jurisdictions

For the latest updates on the Order of the Health Officer in San Francisco, go to https://sf.gov/stay-home-except-essential-needs  

REQUIREMENTS FOR FILM PERMITTING UNDER COVID-19:

  • It may take 7-10 business days before your first shoot date for permit turnaround. If you are using a drone camera for filming, we may need additional days to work on your submission.
  • Submission of our updated permit application (bottom left corner of the document should say Use Agreement 08/20).
    • Please download permit, fill it out, save it and send it to us. DO NOT FLATTEN/PRINT/SCAN PERMIT APPLICATION PDF BEFORE SENDING TO FILM OFFICE, we need to receive the fillable format in order to work on your submission. 
    • DO NOT PRINT, SIGN AND EMAIL THE SIGNATURE PAGE, we will do all signatures at the end of the permitting process through Docusign.
  • Productions will need to fill out a DETAILED QUESTIONNAIRE about their filming request that includes specifics about each location.
  • Productions will need to submit a health and safety plan prior to permit issuance. The plan must be posted and distributed to all personnel prior to start of production. Productions will designate a person on-site to monitor the health and safety plan. Productions must give FilmSF this contact information prior to permit issuance. The plan should include, but is not limited to, signage and education, personnel protection and sanitation requirements. 
  • Productions must also give the personnel screening handout DAILY to all cast, crew, and personnel who work on productions. You can find the screening handout here: https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/files/COVID19-Personnel-Screening-Handout-EN.pdf
  • All other permit application requirements and guidelines still apply (insurance, parking production vehicles, etc.)
    • Please use this updated film notice template with special wording regarding COVID-19 when you need to notify a neighborhood of your parking and/or filming activity.

FAQ FOR FILM PERMITTING UNDER COVID-19:

Are permits for film productions allowed at this time?
Yes, provided that productions are in compliance with the listed above.

How long will it take to process a permit?
Due to Covid-19 circumstances, we need more lead time to process and approve your permit. We may need a minimum of 7-10 business days. 

Can a production have more than 12 cast, crew and personnel associated with their project? 
Yes, as long as the number of people in one location does not exceed 12.

  • Example #1: A production of 12 or less is filming at Rincon Park. Another group of no more than 12: drivers, personnel and other crew are working at their basecamp located at a nearby outdoor parking lot.
  • Example #2: A production of 12 or less is filming at Civic Center Plaza and another group of 12 or less from the same production is prepping their next location at UN Plaza.

Note: People can move to/from various locations as long as the total count does not exceed 12.

What else do I need to know?

  • FilmSF staff may conduct drop-in inspections of permitted productions.
  • Please be respectful of the public and merchants and try to impact access to merchants as little as possible.
  • Posted parking will be limited in order to facilitate merchants getting back to business, including curbside pick-ups by their customers. 

​How does the May 28 order affect filming?
For outdoor locations, if productions are filming talent without a face covering, then talent must maintain 6 feet distance from other cast, crew, personnel and public at all times. Talent should put their face covering on if they come within 30 feet (10 yards) of the public. Crew and personnel need to wear face coverings at all times and comply with the 6 feet social distancing requirements. Note: removing face coverings for interior locations is still not allowed under the Order of the Health Officer for anyone.

Can I obtain a permit to post parking for production vehicles?
Yes, if a production meets the requirements for filming under the Order of the Health Officer, then you may also obtain a permit to post parking. You will need to go through the procedures to obtain a permit and will need to work with one of the posting vendors to post your parking. We are not allowing productions to self-post at this time.

Can productions use motorhomes on their shoots?
Yes, provided there are only the number of people in the motorhome that can maintain at least 6 feet social distance, face coverings are worn at all times, and doors/windows are left open to increase ventilation to the greatest extent feasible. Motorhome must be cleaned and sanitized frequently (at least every 3-4 hours).

What are the current social distancing, sanitation and face covering requirements for productions?
Productions should follow the social distancing, sanitation and face covering guidelines in the Order of the Health Officer at: https://sf.gov/stay-home-except-essential-needs

What is allowed for catering and craft service under the current health order?
Catering and craft services is only allowed at exterior locations at this time. Productions may utilize an outdoor private location for catering and craft services. Walking to meals at nearby businesses is highly encouraged. Cast, crew, and personnel may remove face coverings only to eat and drink and seating should remain 6 feet apart from each other during meals and breaks. 

RESOURCES:

San Francisco Department of Public Health website on COVID-19: 
https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/coronavirus.asp
The Toolkit section and the Coronavirus Facts section of the DPH site also includes signage in multiple languages which you can use to meet some of the notice requirements in the Safety Protocol. Additional Public Health information can be found at https://www.sfcdcp.org/infectious-diseases-a-to-z/coronavirus-2019-novel-coronavirus/

San Francisco Department of Human Resources is a valuable source of information to help respond to questions you may have regarding topics such as employee assistance programs, telecommuting, application of various leave policies, employee non-compliance with safety requirements, and other COVID-19 related personnel issues: https://sfdhr.org/covid-19

San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development has helpful resources for businesses and workers: https://oewd.org/resources-businesses-and-employees-impacted-covid-19

Other sites with relevant information: