SUDBURY -- It’s been a long, hard year for bars, restaurants and retailers in downtown Sudbury.

But with help from the downtown business improvement area (BIA), the spring and summer months may bring in some much-needed business.

The program is called Pop Up Patio, and it’s encouraging downtown businesses to add an outdoor patio to their location.

The BIA is investing up to $7,500 into each business patio to help purchase items to construct the patio, including heaters, lighting and more. The $7,500 is coming from a fee the downtown businesses pay to be part of the BIA.

Kyle Marcus, the BIA's managing director, said the $7,500 is a substantial amount to help with the patios.

“As long as we stay in grey, there is no indoor dining and this is the only way for businesses to stand on their own two feet," said Marcus. "Anyone who owns their own business wants to stand on their own two feet.”

“It also gives our retail locations an opportunity to expand their square footage and get their products out on the streets to gain some visibility,” he added

The owner of Kuppajo Espresso Bar in the downtown told CTV News she’s jumping on board.

“Nobody has money, nobody can afford all those extra things because we had to eliminate our intake of revenue by closing up our doors,” said Betty-Ann Serre.

“Having them come forward with that $7,500 is amazing.”

The hope is that the new program will help attract more people downtown.

“I absolutely know this will be a big draw,” said Marcus.

“Our patio season last year was fantastic. Hopefully the sooner we can get this going and the sooner the sun starts shining, we can spend our days outside having a great time.”

He's is optimistic the patios will be up and running by May, but it's weather dependent.