Applicants can now register for a £100 prepaid “spend local” card, with the portal remaining open until 25 October 2021.
Following the initial phase of applications, the first tranche of cards will be issued to successful citizens from the week commencing 4 October.
The high street scheme, which is available to all over the age of 18, will then run until 30 November, when the prepaid cards will cease to be valid.
Lyons said: “This is a big day in the rollout of the High Street scheme. I am delighted to announce that the portal for applications for the Spend Local card has now opened.”
However, with 1.4 million people expected to apply for the scheme, Lyons recognised that the portal is expected to be “extremely busy in the first few days”, in turn calling on those registering to “please be patient”.
Applicants will be asked to provide their name, address, age, gender, disability status, NI number, email address, and telephone number for verification purposes.
Yet, Lyons issued a reminder against possible scams, adding that the NI department for the economy would “never ask” for personal bank details.
He added: “Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals who will look for every opportunity to steal from others.
“Anyone who receives any contact which they think may be a scam should contact Action Fraud.”