Wyoming Business Council creating additional COVID-19 business relief programs

WYOMING — The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors adopted draft emergency rules in a July 14 special meeting for the Relief Fund and the Mitigation Fund. The next two grant funds of the COVID-19 Business Relief Program will provide $225 million to Wyoming businesses and nonprofits for expenses and revenue losses experienced during the health crisis.

The draft rules for the Relief Fund and the Mitigation Fund are now at the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office for review before heading to Governor Mark Gordon’s desk for review and signing.

The Business Council’s COVID-19 Business Relief Program, created by the Wyoming Legislature in May, consists of three funds:  the Interruption Fund, the Relief Fund and the Mitigation Fund. The Interruption Fund, which closed on July 2, already has infused nearly $100 million into Wyoming small businesses.

The next steps for the Business Council include completing final vendor corrections and closing out the Interruption Fund, developing a secure online application system for the next two programs, beta testing the system internally and with businesses and nonprofits, and finalizing an application review process. The applications are expected to open in a couple weeks.

“Putting these funds in the hands of businesses and nonprofits as quickly as possible is paramount, but we also are doing our due diligence to ensure a smooth, accurate application process and security against fraud,”  Business Council CEO Josh Dorrell said.  “With larger amounts of funding available in this next round, eligible applicants will be required to provide more detailed information. This includes a requirement to calculate revenue loss and COVID-19-related expenses.”

The Business Council will hold separate informational webinars for businesses and nonprofits interested in the Relief or Mitigation funds next week to explain the program rules and stipend calculation formula, and answer questions.

Webinars for business owners are scheduled for Thursday, July 23, at 7 a.m. or noon. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to attend webinars geared toward their eligibility on Thursday, July 23, at 8 a.m. or 1 p.m. Webinar registration is available at wyobizrelief.org.

Eligible entities will be allowed to apply for both the Relief Fund and the Mitigation Fund but applicants cannot apply more than one time per program. Businesses that received a stipend from the Interruption Fund can also apply for these next programs if they can document additional COVID-related losses. Recipients are not required to pay back the funds; however, all funds received through the COVID-19 Business Relief Program are considered taxable income.

ABOUT THE COVID-19 BUSINESS RELIEF PROGRAM

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.

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