How Indy Quickly Launched New Digital Services for COVID Safety

New City-County Programs Streamline Restaurant Permitting and Face Covering Requests

The City of Indianapolis and Marion County is a recognized leader in reimagining local government to create a digital city hall.

When COVID-19 first led to stay-at-home measures, Indy quickly responded by transitioning in-person processes online, like submitting public comments on proposals presented to the City-County Council. Using CityBase Content Management, Indy created a new hub on their website at to group all related resources in a single place.

To serve Indy residents and businesses in the new normal of a pandemic, the City rapidly launched new digital services to meet quickly shifting demands, using CityBase Screendoor. Below are two examples of new programs Indy rolled out with the help of the CityBase Screendoor product, which helps governments create online forms and manage intake, and automate business processes like triaging requests to the right staff or department.


Indy Dine Out Initiative: Temporary Outdoor Seating

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Watch an Indy webinar about the program →

In May, Indy Mayor Joe Hogsett and city leaders announced new measures aimed at helping restaurants and small businesses safely reopen. The Dine Out program allows restaurants and bars to add new or expand existing outdoor seating areas, using a fast-tracked permitting process in order to creatively use outdoor space as they plan to reopen. Within the first 4 days of the program, Indy staff were able to issue 100+ outdoor dining permits to local restaurants.

Indy’s Department of Business and Neighborhood Services launched the new permitting solution quickly. They chose CityBase Screendoor because the software enabled:

  • A nimble drag-and-drop form builder that allowed Indy to quickly publish or modify the form without the help of engineers
  • A single online form for all businesses to complete their application online, whether they are a bar, restaurant, or already have outdoor seating or not
  • A simple, self-service user experience for business owners to understand and navigate
  • Automated shortcuts that make it fast and easy for Indy staff to process and approve permits, and to alert businesses for updates and approvals to their application
  • A centralized response dashboard for all staff to view submissions, track status, and assign staff to next steps

The Dine Out permit form was launched in a matter of days. It has streamlined the permitting process for a business owner to submit their application and for staff to approve it.

“As more of Indianapolis begins to reopen, the safety of employees, business owners, and patrons continues to be a top priority,” said Brian Madison, Director of Indy’s Department of Business and Neighborhood Services. “We are committed to clearing as many obstacles as we can to ensure that these businesses remain an integral part of our economy.”


Face Coverings for Marion County Residents

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Beginning July 9, the Marion County Public Health Department mandated face coverings for all residents when they are inside public buildings or unable to maintain adequate social distancing outdoors.

To help people comply with the new requirement, Indianapolis and Marion County provided a face covering free of charge to any resident who didn’t already have one. Any resident could apply for the free face covering to be sent to their home, with first priority going to those unable to purchase or obtain a face covering, older adults, and people who have serious underlying medical conditions.

Indy created a simple online form for residents to request face coverings for their household. Residents can view and complete the form in either English or Spanish. Indy staff were able to create the form in a single day, and quickly process requests.

Since the digital service launched on May 27, more than 100,000 residents have received free face coverings. As of August 1, the City-County received 128,000 English and 1,675 Spanish submissions form submissions to request a free face covering.


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