10 Permits To Consider For In-Person Events
As we begin to return to in-person events in a post-pandemic world, it is still necessary to obtain permits for just about any type of gathering you intend to host, regardless of size. Understanding the various permits that are available and/or required for in-person events can help to streamline the planning process of your next in-person event at any venue of your choice.
What Are Event Permits?
Event permits are essentially documents obtained by city officials granting permission to use a particular space, venue, or piece of land to host an in-person event. Permits typically do require an upfront cost in order to ensure the property being used is not taken advantage of or destroyed in the process.
Event permits ensure that all parties involved in hosting an event are doing so legally while abiding by any regulations or codes in place based on local zoning laws.
*** Note: The required permits are going to be different depending on your location and their own regulations as well as your venue choices, event type, etc.
Benefits of Obtaining Event Permits
Event permits have numerous benefits, most of which benefit the land owner or city. However, obtaining event permits will ensure the following:
- Legal standing: When you have a valid and present event permit, you can host your event as you wish. Those who are hosting an in-person event without a permit are subject to potential fines, fees, and other potential legal issues.
Work with community police: Working with the community police after obtaining a permit is a way to demonstrate mutual respect. In many instances, police officers may be willing to help facilitate your event if you are following the proper legal steps to obtain permits and licensing as necessary.
Types of Permits for In-Person Events
Before you begin applying for a general event permit, it is important to remember that there are many different types of event permits. Not all event permits are applicable to all events. Be sure to inquire about the type of event permit you require based on the following:
- Preferred location of event: All locations may vary when it comes to permits and licensing. While one location may only require a traditional sidewalk permit, others may require more extensive permits in order to be run legally.
- Duration: Consider the length and duration of your planned event and whether it is a multi-day event.
- Indoor/outdoor: The type of permit you obtain will greatly depend on whether the event is hosted indoors or outside in the public's view.
1. Sidewalk Permits
Whenever an event takes place on or near a sidewalk, a Sidewalk Permit is typically required (depending on the exact location of your planned event).
2. SAPO (Street Activity Permits)
If you intend to host an event that will include the use of a public street, you may need to apply for and obtain SAPO, or Street Activity Permits. SAPO permits demonstrate to local authorities and city agencies that you are lawfully complying with your event when hosted on a designated street.
3. Plaza Permits
Events hosted at a public pedestrian plaza will also require a permit, especially if the event has the potential to disrupt the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
3. Temporary Retail Space Permits
For those who are thinking of hosting a "pop-up" store to promote their brand and products, a temporary retail space permit will be necessary.
4. After-Hour Permits
If an event takes place after or before traditional business hours (which can range from 7 AM to 6 PM, depending on your location), you may need an After-Hours permit for your event as well.
5. DEP Permits
In some locations, DEP permits are required to ensure you are following sustainability and environmental guidelines that are in place for the region or neighborhood.
DEP stands for Department of Environmental Protection.
6. Police Permits
It is also possible to work directly with police departments by obtaining a police permit for your event, depending on the location of your event and the type of event you are hosting.
7. Parks Department Permits
To use a private or public park for a large event, you may need to inquire about a Parks Department permit.
8. Tent/Canopy Permits
Hosting events with tents and canopies around the city or even on one designated street/block will typically require a permit, especially if you or your vendors intend to sell products or services.
9. Curb Permits
If your event requires any vehicle to be parked on a curb for an extended period of time (such as a food truck or a sound vehicle), you may need to obtain a curb permit to do so lawfully.
10. Mobile Marketing Vehicle Permits
Using branded vehicles to market a product, service, or brand may also require you to obtain a mobile marketing permit. A mobile marketing permit can be obtained from local city agencies who are well aware of the event(s) you intend to host.
Obtaining the proper permits for any in-person event you intend to host is a way to ensure you avoid potential fees, fines, and legal backlash. With the right permits, hosting an in-person event is possible whether you intend to do so for 1000 guests or with a small and intimate event for 50 attendees. Understanding the ins and outs of event permits can also help to protect you both legally and financially when planning your next in-person event of any kind.