By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
More than $2.8 million in coronavirus relief funds was distributed to 180 Wyoming businesses in the first week of the state’s relief programs, according to Wyoming Business Council records.
The WBC’s records of companies that have received grants under the state’s Business Interruption Stipend program show that distributions of funds began June 10, just two days after the council began accepting applications for the program.
As of Monday, about $2,894,000 had been distributed to companies in amounts ranging from $1,000 to the full $50,000 allowed under the program.
The Business Interruption Program is one of three approved by the Legislature during its special session in May to help businesses that lost money because of the coronavirus. The Legislature set aside $50 million for the program to provide up to $50,000 for each business, depending on the level of the pandemic’s impact.
The program is open to Wyoming businesses that have 50 or fewer employees.
According to the WBC, almost 2,700 companies have applied for assistance and so far, almost $7.7 million in grants has been approved for distribution.
Many of the grants already distributed, according to WBC figures listed on the state’s transparency page (www.wyopen.gov/wbc), have gone to restaurants, child care centers, bars, breweries and other businesses closed by public health orders designed to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Among the 17 companies receiving the full $50,000 as of Monday was the Pumpkin Patch Preschool in Wilson, the Black Tooth Brewing Co. in Sheridan and the Tortilla Factory in Cheyenne.
Two other relief programs have yet to be launched. The Coronavirus Business Relief Stipend will provide grants of up to $300,000 for independent Wyoming businesses that employee fewer than 100 people and experienced difficulties because of public health orders issued to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The Coronavirus Mitigation Fund reimburses companies for what they spent to purchase cleaning supplies, sanitizers, personal protective equipment and other materials used to comply with safety standards.