Gordon allocates $114 million more toward Wyoming COVID relief - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Gordon allocates $114 million more toward Wyoming COVID relief

Muralist Tony Elmore works on the Better Together mural on the Atrium Plaza on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, in downtown Casper. The Casper Mural Project’s latest mural is in honor of the community’s response during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has allocated $114 million in federal CARES Act dollars toward two new funds aimed to provide relief to Wyoming businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Wyoming Business Council (WBC) will open the Agriculture Fund and the Endurance Fund under the COVID-19 Business Relief Program on Nov. 2. Applications for both funds will close Nov. 18.

“The Agriculture Fund has $90 million reserved to support Wyoming farmers and ranchers who have experienced business interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gordon’s office said on Monday, Oct. 26. “Awards up to $250,000 are available for Wyoming agricultural producers who were established on or before March 13, 2020.”

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“The Endurance Fund will have at least $24 million set aside for businesses and nonprofits to cover COVID-19 related losses and expenses. Money available in this fund may increase as unused CARES Act dollars from other programs may be diverted into it. Awards up to $250,000 will be available for all affected Wyoming businesses. Eligible nonprofits in Wyoming include 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), 501(c)(12) and 501(c)(19) with no more than 50 percent of time spent on lobbying.”

Gordon said that the pandemic continues to impact communities and businesses in Wyoming.

“There are impacts still being felt by business owners, nonprofit organizations, and agriculture producers,” he said in the release. “Right from the start we worked with the Legislature to pace our programs so that they would reach each sector as the needs became clear. The Business Council will distribute these federal funds where they’re needed to help continue our economic recovery.”

WBC CEO Josh Dorrell said that the two new funds will help provide further relief “as we near the deadline of the current CARES Act funding.” The state is required to use the CARES Act funds by the end of the year or the money will revert to the federal government.

“First, because of the seasonality of agriculture production, this $90 million relief fund allows farmers and ranchers to better capture 2020 losses and expenses related to the pandemic,” Dorrell said. “Second, many Wyoming businesses and nonprofits are not out of the woods yet, and this opportunity for another round of funding will help with the losses businesses have continued to endure.”

Businesses, non-profits and agriculture producers eligible for the funds can apply one time per fund. The WBC previously administered Interruption, Relief and Mitigation funds under the COVID-19 Business Relief Program which have all closed.

Entities which applied for the previous funds may also apply for the Agriculture Fund and the Endurance Fund “if they have eligible losses or expenses since their previous application dates,” Gordon’s office says.

“The Business Council will hold informational webinars for interested applicants on Oct. 28, 29 and 30, and Nov. 2,” the release adds. “Details on the new funds and webinar registration links are available at wyobizrelief.org.”

The Wyoming Legislature allocated $325 million in federal CARES Act funds toward COVID-19 business and non-profit relief in May 2020. The WBC has been administering the distribution of this funding.

The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:

What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.

If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.

Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.

For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: covid@cnchd.org

  • Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.