Emergency services have lifted the cordon on parts of Napier CBD following a gas pipe rupture.
Police received a call about the leak just before 10.30am.
Lower Emerson Street and and Tennyson Street were closed off to the public while the police and fire service investigated.
The company that manages the pipe, PowerCo, said a contractor working in Theatre Lane, which links Emerson and Tennyson streets, struck a gas service line.
Witness Lucy Rio Da Silva said she could see businesses being evacuated.
"There was quite a crowd gathering outside Glassons' area, as you couldn't go any further and there was quite a few police and fire."
About 20 businesses looked to have been affected, she said.
Ms Rio Da Silva, who works at beauty salon Elaines on Emerson, said she heard about the gas leak from a client.
"I am very surprised, but there are workers down there, where there's a new building being popped up, so I wondered if it had something to do with them."
Powerco Gas Operations manager Don Elers said the company attended the leak and a third party contractor working in the lane was understood to have hit a gas service line.
He said one customer was affected and the leak was isolated within an hour.
Three fire trucks arrived on the scene just before 11am.