First Wyoming relief fund payments issued
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming Business Council) – 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 Relief Fund.
The Relief 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 Relief Fund has $50 million set aside for businesses and nonprofits required to close by public health order and an additional $135 million available to cover COVID-19 related expenses and direct or indirect losses due to public health orders.
Of the $92 million approved to date, $35.7 million has been paid to 531 applicants from the Relief Fund. All Business Relief Program 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.
“Our staff has been working hard doing the due diligence necessary to review applications in order to have more dollars flow into the hands of Wyoming business owners and nonprofits in need,” Business Council CEO Josh Dorrell said. “With larger sums of money available in these programs, more scrutiny is necessary.”
The Business Council is going through a rigorous, multi-layered review of all applications in coordination with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s and Wyoming State Auditor’s offices to distribute funding.
“It is critical to ensure funds are used appropriately and according to program rules and U.S. Treasury guidelines,” Dorrell said. “These are important steps to prevent future audits and potential repayment of funds with penalties. Although the process is speedy, there are a lot of checks and balances.”
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; however, the complexities of the Relief Fund and the focus on accuracy and security may cause some delays in payments initially.
Applicants can check the status of their application by clicking on the “Apply Here” button and logging into their account at www.wyobizrelief.org.
Eligible businesses and nonprofits can still apply at the same web address for the Relief and Mitigation funds. Due to high demand, requests are nearing the limit of available funding; therefore, applicants are not guaranteed funding and may be placed on wait lists.
As of 2 p.m. on Aug. 27, the Business Council has received the following applications:
Relief Fund (entities that were required to close): 590 applicants requesting $46.5 million
Relief Fund (not required to close): 1,747 applicants requesting $133.7 million
Mitigation Fund: 568 applicants requesting $27.2 million
Note: WBC-reported numbers for funds requested may be greater than funds available because not all funds requested will be approved.
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.