WYOMING — The Wyoming Business Council has issued the first payments to Wyoming-based businesses and nonprofits that applied for the COVID-19 Business Relief Program’s Mitigation Fund.
The Mitigation Fund is one of three funds created by the Wyoming Legislature in May to distribute $325 million in federal CARES Act dollars to small businesses and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mitigation Fund reimburses all Wyoming-based businesses and nonprofits that have incurred employee and customer health and safety expenses as a direct impact of COVID-19. The Mitigation Fund has $40 million available with awards up to $500,000 per eligible entity.
Of the $7.6 million approved to date, $2.2 million has been paid to 70 applicants from the Mitigation Fund. Payments are posted on www.wyopen.gov/wbc, a website created by Wyoming State Auditor Kristi Racines to provide the public with easy access to state of Wyoming expenditures.
“We are pleased to see Mitigation Fund dollars now being distributed solely for costs related to employee and customer health and safety,” Business Council CEO Josh Dorrell said. “The Mitigation Fund assistance includes those larger employers that remained operational and kept people safely employed while absorbing health and safety costs they otherwise would not have experienced if not for COVID-19. Other facets of the Business Relief Programs have, and continue to, address losses and expenses as a direct or indirect result of public health orders.”
The Business Council is working through a multi-layered review process of all applications in coordination with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s and Wyoming State Auditor’s offices to distribute funding. These are important steps to ensure funds are used appropriately and according to program rules and US Treasury guidelines in order to prevent future audits and potential repayment of funds with penalties.
Successful applicants of the Interruption Fund, which closed on July 2, received payment within 21 business days from the start of the review process. The Business Council anticipates a similar timeline with these programs, as well.
Eligible businesses and nonprofits can still apply online for the Relief and Mitigation Funds. Due to high demand, requests are quickly exhausting available funding. Applicants are not guaranteed funding at this point and may be placed on waitlists.
As of noon, Aug. 19, the Business Council has received the following applications:
Relief Fund (entities that were required to close): 564 applicants requesting $46.8 million
Relief Fund (not required to close): 1,676 applicants requesting $136 million
Mitigation Fund: 496 applicants requesting $24 million
In May 2020, the Wyoming Legislature created three programs to distribute $325 million in federal CARES Act funding to Wyoming businesses and nonprofits that have experienced hardship related to the COVID-19 crisis. The Wyoming Business Council is distributing these dollars through the COVID-19 Business Relief Program, which has been broken down into three funds – the Interruption Fund, the Relief Fund, and the Mitigation Fund.