Legislature authorize up to $325 million in CARES Act relief for Wyoming small businesses - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Legislature authorize up to $325 million in CARES Act relief for Wyoming small businesses

Sherrie’s Place owner Sherrie Lopez talks to a customer on the first day of outdoor dining on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in downtown Casper. Tuesday was the first time Lopez had been able to open her restaurant since it closed in March when much of the state shut down to slow the spread of coronavirus. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Legislature have passed legislation which would direct $325 million in CARES Act funding or future federal funding received by the state to provide COVID-19 pandemic relief for small businesses.

House Enrolled Act No. 1 will move to Governor Mark Gordon’s desk for consideration after moving through the May 15-16 special session legislative process. The legislation would create three relief programs for businesses impacted by the pandemic.

The funding would be made available from the $1.25 billion in CARES Act funding if Senate File 1001, which authorizes the appropriation of that funding is signed into law.

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The largest of the three programs was initially slated to be a $175 million coronavirus business relief loan program. However, the legislature increased this program’s appropriation to $225 million and turned the program into a stipend than a loan with some in the state’s banking industry indicating that Wyoming banks are already overwhelmed managing a high volume of Small Business Administation Paycheck Protection Program loans.

The three programs which the legislation would create include:

  • $50 million for the Wyoming business interruption stipend program
  • $225 million for the coronavirus business relief stipend program
  • $50 million for the coronavirus mitigation stipend program

The three stipend programs would be administered by the Wyoming Business Council and businesses would be required to certify they are eligible. The WBC could still partner with financial institutions to help administer the stipends.

Further information about the three stipend programs is as follows:

  • $50 million Wyoming business interruption stipend program:
    • Wyoming owned and operated businesses with 50 full time employees or less as of March 31 who experienced interruptions due to COVID-19 public health orders
    • $20,000 to maximum $50,000 awards (depending on number of employees)
    • preference given to businesses which didn’t receive federal PPP funding
  • $225 million coronavirus business relief loan program
    • Wyoming owned and operated businesses with 100 full time employees or less as of March 31 who were “adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic or by required closures”
    • stipends up to$300,000
  • $50 million coronavirus mitigation stipend program
    • “to reimburse COVID-related expenses that an eligible business actually incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 1, 2020”
    • can include costs of cleaning products, personal protective equipment, training expenses, etc.
    • maximum $500,000

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.