CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Business Council (WBC) expect to launch two COVID-19 related relief programs for businesses and non-profits impacted by COVID-19 during the first week of August.
That includes the $50 million “Mitigation Fund” and the S175 million “Relief Fund,” both of which should open during the first week of August, according to the WBC. The two programs follow an earlier “Interruption Fund,” which closed on July 2 but aimed to provide “immediate relief for losses during [the] initial months of [the] pandemic response.”
All three programs are funded through federal CARES Act dollars received by Wyoming which the Wyoming Legislature allocated to provide relief to organizations impacted by COVID-19 this spring.
The $50 million “Mitigation Fund” is for “all businesses and nonprofits that have incurred employee and customer health and safety expenses that were a direct impact of COVID-19.”
The WBC lists examples of expenses which are eligible for reimbursement under the program:
- Cleaning products
- Personal Protection Equipment
- Other safety equipment
- High-efficiency air filters
- Expenses related to training to implement necessary and required protocols to continue operating the business
- Expenses related to hiring and paying employees necessary to implement protocols associated with screening, safety, security, cleaning, and sanitizing business premises
- Installing physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards
- Face shields & face masks
- Respiratory protection, when appropriate
- Announcements, signage, and visual cues to promote social distancing
- Thermometers for temperature checks
- Expenses to promote telework and other social distancing practices that were required for an employee to perform the essential function of their job from their remote work location
The WBC also provide some examples of expenses which do not qualify under the program:
- Legal fees
- Travel expenses
- Mortgage or rent expense
- Lost wages or salaries
- Undocumented items
- Any expenses that have not actually incurred
- Expenses reimbursed from another funding source
The WBC shares details of the “Mitigation Fund” program as follows:
- Timing: First week of August
- Funding: Up to $500,000; Cannot apply more than one time per program
- Eligible Entities: Wyoming businesses and nonprofit organizations of all sizes
- Eligible time frame: March 1, 2020 – application date
- Total Funding Available: $50 million
There is no limit to the number of employees a business or nonprofit has for Mitigation Fund eligibility. Businesses and nonprofits must have been established on or before March 13.
They must be “headquartered in Wyoming or [have their] principal operations in Wyoming and at least 60 percent of their employees employed in Wyoming or 60 percent of the business payroll paid to individuals living in Wyoming.”
Government and tribal government owned businesses are not eligible for the program.
“Eligible businesses and nonprofits can apply for both the Relief Fund and the Mitigation Fund but applicants cannot apply more than one time per fund,” the WBC says. “Businesses that received a stipend from the Interruption Fund can also apply for these next funds. Recipients are not required to pay back the funds; however, all funds received through the COVID-19 Business Relief Program are considered taxable income.”
The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.