By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
More than $1 million was delivered to Wyoming businesses on the first day funds from the Coronavirus Mitigation Fund were distributed, according to state figures.
Figures found on the state auditor’s “WyOpen Transparency Platform” website showed that on Aug. 14, 41 businesses received payments from the fund designed to reimburse them for health and safety expenses stemming directly from the coronavirus.
The program was one of three created by the Legislature to help businesses hurt by the coronavirus and resulting public safety orders.
Companies that had to spend money on safety measures such as protective equipment and extra sanitization of their buildings can receive up to $500,000 in reimbursement for those expenses under the mitigation program.
Many of the businesses receiving mitigation funds were in the health care field, including the Cheyenne Surgical Center, the Borgrstrand Clinic in Cody, Frontier Eye Care in Casper and Advanced Dental in Cheyenne.
The largest payment given out in the first day of payments was $452,223 to True Grit WY in Rozet, an oilfield service company.
The Wyoming Business Council, which is managing the relief programs, said that as of Wednesday, it had received requests for funds from 496 companies asking for $24 million. It added $7.6 million in payments had been approved of the $40 million in federal coronavirus relief funds available for the program.
The state’s “Business Interruption Stipend” program, which ended earlier this month, paid out almost $98.7 million to 3,988 small Wyoming businesses that saw their operations closed or restricted by public health orders adopted to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The third program, the “Business Relief Fund, is designed to provide relief for larger companies and nonprofit organizations that saw their operations affected by public health orders.
No payments have been made under the program, but the WBC said 2,240 entities have requested assistance totaling $182.8 million.