COVID-19 BUSINESS RELIEF PROGRAMS
In 2020, the Wyoming Legislature created multiple programs to distribute federal CARES Act funding to Wyoming businesses and nonprofits that experienced hardship related to the COVID-19 crisis. The Wyoming Business Council distributed those dollars through the COVID-19 Business Relief Program, which consisted of five funds: the Interruption, Relief, Mitigation, Agriculture, and Endurance funds, all of which are now closed. Businesses throughout the state continue to face challenges due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic and the State of Wyoming is focused on maximizing additional federal dollars to support our citizens for the long haul.
AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT OF 2021
The latest COVID-19 federal relief package - the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) - became law in early March. The majority of the overall $1.9 trillion in assistance will be allocated as direct payments and other relief to American families with additional help available through the Small Business Administration and state and federal agencies for targeted businesses, communities, and organizations affected by the ongoing pandemic.
Wyoming was allocated about $1.07 billion from ARP funds. The Wyoming Business Council (WBC) and other state agencies are working closely with Governor Gordon’s office and legislators to identify the best ways to capitalize on this opportunity.
GOVERNOR GORDON SHARES PLAN TO HELP WY THRIVE POST-PANDEMIC
SURVIVE < DRIVE < THRIVE
Governor Mark Gordon released the planning framework for how to leverage resources, including federal relief funds, to make sure Wyoming thrives in the years to come, ensuring funds are spent strategically to maximize the benefits to the state.
The Governor has recommended the first phase (Survive) of ARP spending be focused on mental health and substance abuse service needs, providing tax relief for businesses, closing broadband gaps, expanding Wyoming State Parks camping, and aiding the oil and gas industry.
In the subsequent (Drive) phase, several goals were identified for further study and planning. These included
Strengthen Wyoming’s economy by activating new economic sectors and creating new jobs, as well as identifying ways to add value to Wyoming’s current businesses and core industries.
Create better alignment among workforce, economic development, and educational opportunities to achieve balance between available workforce and available employment opportunities.
Expand outdoor recreation and enhance wildlife populations.
Focused efforts to retain and attract working families and young adults to permanently live and raise families in Wyoming.
Promote and enhance Wyoming food supply, distribution, and markets.
Identify and complete necessary and beneficial infrastructure projects.
The complete report on the Proposals for the Future is available on the Governor’s website.
RESTAURANT REVITALIZATION FUND
Attention restaurant owners! The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) opened applications on Monday, May 3, at 10 a.m. MDT for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The online application will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted. In preparation, the SBA recommends qualifying applicants familiarize themselves with the application process to ensure a smooth and efficient experience. For more information and to register, click the link below.
EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Do you rent in Wyoming and have been unable to make rent, internet, or utility payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic? You may be eligible for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which opened on April 29.
Wyoming received $200 million in federal funding for the program, a U.S. Treasury initiative passed through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and expanded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Under the new federal guidelines, $180 million is available for direct financial assistance for rent, utility, and internet payments and housing stability services, while $20 million is available for application assistance and administrative costs. The new guidelines have extended the program through December 31, 2021. Find out more and apply at the link below.
WHERE TO FIND ERAP HELP
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program directly pays landlords for unpaid rent, utilities and internet for qualified renters in Wyoming. This program provides more flexible eligibility than the 2020 program.
ONLINE: Learn more about ERAP online at dfs.wyo.gov/erap.
IN PERSON: If needing assistance with an application, there are community-based organizations set up in counties to provide help. (Click here for an updated list)
VIA PHONE: The call center is open 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The toll-free number is 1-877-WYO-ERAP.
THRIVE > SURVIVE CAMPAIGN
With 2020 in the rearview mirror, the Wyoming Business Council has launched a new campaign for the new year: Thrive > Survive. We are focusing on Wyoming stories where innovation, lots of elbow grease and working together have helped communities and businesses weather the pandemic, sometimes even growing stronger.
COVID-19 BUSINESS RELIEF PROGRAM RECAP 2020
June 8 - July 2, 2020
3,978 applicants paid
$98.5 million paid
Aug. 4 - Sept. 15, 2020
2,416 applicants paid
$177.6 million paid
Aug. 4 - Sept. 15, 2020
687 applicants paid
$25.6 million paid
Nov. 2 - Nov. 18, 2020
514 applicants paid
$35.1 million paid
Nov. 2 - Nov. 18, 2020
981 applicants paid
$83 million paid
BRP AUDIT PROCESS
With guidance from independent auditing firm, McGee Hearne & Paiz, LLP (MHP), a sampling of COVID-19 Business Relief Program recipients has been audited. Entities chosen for the audit pool were notified via email with instructions and MHP conducted the audits at the business level, not application or program levels.
RELIEF FUND FUTURE EXTRAORDINARY EXPENDITURES PLAN
IMPORTANT EXPENDITURE PLAN INFORMATION: If you included future extraordinary expenditures in your Relief Fund application, you must report on how those funds were spent by Dec. 15, 2020. Applicants not reporting on their expenditures will be required to repay their expenditure plan amounts.
REGIONAL DIRECTOR CONSULTANTS
Reach out to a regional director with specific questions and for more information.
Southeast Regional Director (Albany, Carbon, Goshen and Laramie counties)
Western Regional Director (Fremont, Sublette and Teton counties)
Also currently covering Lincoln, Sweetwater and Uinta
Northeast Regional Director (Campbell, Crook, Johnson, Sheridan and Weston counties)
East Central Regional Director (Converse, Natrona, Niobrara and Platte counties)
Southwest Regional Director (Sweetwater, Lincoln and Uinta counties)
Northwest Regional Director (Big Horn, Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties)
BUSINESS RELIEF PROGRAM 2020 TAX INFORMATION
All CARES Act funding recipients that received any money through the COVID-19 Business Relief Program (BRP) in 2020 are reminded those funds are considered taxable income and should be included in tax filings. The State Auditor's Office has issued all applicable 2020 1099 forms and CARES grant recipients should have received a 1099-G for their awards. If you have any questions, contact the State Auditor's Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Note: The State Auditor's Office and the Wyoming Business Council cannot provide any tax-related advice. BRP grant recipients with questions related to filing, claims, etc., should contact a tax professional.