Hastings District Council has established a $150,000 urban centre recovery fund that the district's business associations can access to boost economic activity post Covid-19.
The fund is to help the district's urban centres and the local business associations: Flaxmere, Havelock North and Hastings can apply to the fund.
The fund is part of the 2020/2021 Covid Recovery Contingency budget and the fund was approved at a Hastings District Council meeting on Tuesday.
The business associations can apply for the fund with a recovery plan showing they have consulted with their members and have a marketing plan and budget.
At the meeting Hastings Business Association manager Anita Alder said: "Timing is of the essence.
"A recovery is only a recovery when the funding is used during that time and small business and medium business enterprises are suffering now, so every day that we wait is a day that it becomes less of a recovery and more of a kneejerk reaction later."
Alder said the businesses in the Hastings CBD had suffered greatly.
July and August are the hardest months for retail and hospitality, so they need to be in recovery now, she said at the meeting.
"With the support of the Hastings District Council, these funds will be used to promote our amazing businesses and bring our community back into the CBD to enjoy our wonderful city and support local businesses.
"We are certainly looking to highlight our changing CBD, new businesses, old favourites and the many exciting developments under way.
"We encourage the local community to keep locals employed by shopping local."
Councillors Damon Harvey, Wendy Schollum, Malcolm Dixon and Eileen Lawson, along with council's group manager corporate and the group manager strategy and development will form an approval board to consider the applications.
Schollum said the fund will allow the business community to invest in activities that they believe have the greatest impact for their collective businesses - be this marketing initiatives, business support training or other actions.
"These are positive, proactive steps that council is taking to show our solidarity and support for the businesses that are so vital to our city centres.
"We're all in this together and we need to continue to work together to ensure a speedy recovery for our local business community. The best way to do your bit is to shop and play locally," she said.
The council said at the meeting that the first meeting was pencilled in for this Thursday.