Special Events in City Public Right-of-Way Can Move Forward with Additional Safety Requirements


DES MOINES, IOWA — Friday, June 26, 2020 — To begin the return to normal operations, Mayor Cownie amended his March 15 emergency proclamation to allow certain social, community, recreational and sporting events on public property, including parades or festivals of more than 10 people. 

Recognizing the City’s streets are primarily for use by the entire public, street use permits are an important tool to control the public right-of-way to ensure the safety and well-being of our community.

For special events over a period of one to five days, or a total of five days over a 30-day period, a standard street use permit is required to allow for the temporary closure of streets in a commercial and/or residential district. This permit must be requested between 30 to 90 days in advance of the event, depending on the location. The purpose of this permit is for a temporary closure of a timed event, activity, block party, festival, or events of similar character and nature.

City ordinance also requires any march, procession, or other similar activities to obtain a parade or street use permit. Additionally, non-recurring parade organizers are required to file for a permit at least four days before the event. The Chief of Police can waive the four-day requirement if good cause can be shown and the parade can proceed as scheduled without hazard to the public safety, given the date, time, place, anticipated number of participants, and the city services required. 

Additionally, to obtain City permits for such activities, organizers must have the ability to comply with social distancing and safety requirements in accordance with the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) best practice guidelines. 

"As the COVID-19 numbers have improved the last five weeks, this is a step back to normal operations," Scott Sanders, City Manager said. "There is an opportunity to carefully start reintroducing public events into our community in a safe and thoughtful manner."

The change is in effect and will be enforced beginning Wednesday, July 1, 2020. 

Jen Schulte
Director of Government Relations & Communications, City Manager’s Office
(515) 318-9814

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