CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Business Council has announced that they will close applications for the COVID-19 Business Relief Program’s Relief and Mitigation funds.
According to a release from the WBC, the closure will be at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
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 is broken down into three funds – the Interruption Fund, the Relief Fund and the Mitigation Fund.
The Relief and Mitigation Fund program will have been open six weeks at the time of the Sept. 15 closure, and the WBC advises that all eligible businesses and nonprofits that have not applied should do so as soon as possible. The Interruption Fund closed on July 2.
Eligible businesses and nonprofits can apply for Relief and Mitigation Funds at www.wyobizrelief.org.
“The demand for the Relief Fund is very close to exceeding available dollars while Mitigation Fund requests have slowed to a trickle, potentially leaving millions of unused dollars,” said Business Council CEO Josh Dorrell. “We have decided to close applications in order to reallocate leftover funds to best serve the ongoing needs of Wyoming businesses later in the year.”
The WBC says the closure will allow the Business Council time to finish all application reviews, begin program reporting, and make sure any leftover money is spent “appropriately and according to the intent of the Legislature and Governor.”
The Business Council says they will announce details about how the funds may be used later this fall.
“Governor Gordon and the legislators did a great job this spring in estimating the demand for these programs and allocated funds for them with great precision,” Dorrell added. “Now is the time to look hard at ongoing demands and develop new opportunities to put unused money to its best possible use within federal Treasury guidelines.”
2,480 applicants have requested $182.7 million from the Relief Fund and 1,806 applicants have been paid $143.4 million, thus far, the WBC reports.
The fund reportedly has $185 million available to businesses and nonprofits to cover COVID-19 related revenue losses and expenses.
So far, 629 applicants have requested $28.3 million from the Mitigation Fund and 527 applicants have been paid $19.1 million.
The Mitigation Fund has $40 million available to reimburse COVID-19 related expenses.
“Although applications are open until Sept. 15, applicants are not guaranteed funding at this point, especially for the Relief Fund, and may be placed on wait lists,” a written statement from the WBC said Friday.
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.