CHEYENNE — In the past nine months, the Wyoming Business Council has infused almost $513 million into the state’s economy, helping businesses and nonprofits weather the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2020, the U.S. Congress allocated the State of Wyoming $1.25 billion as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. During a Special Session in May, the Wyoming Legislature passed three bills to guide how that money was to be spent, initially earmarking $325 million for business and nonprofit relief through the COVID-19 Business Relief Program (BRP), which the Business Council administered.
“Thanks to Governor Gordon, the Wyoming Legislature, and our partners, we were able to place relief funding directly into the hands of businesses and nonprofits, keeping doors open and more folks employed,” said Business Council CEO Josh Dorrell. “Combining the relief funding with some of the country’s most business-friendly health orders allows Wyoming communities to start the year in a much better place; however, we realize we’re not out of the woods yet.”
The BRP consisted of five funds: Interruption, Relief, Mitigation, Agriculture, and Endurance. In total, almost $420 million was awarded through these funds.
Overall, through BRP and additional relief programs including Connect Wyoming, the Wyoming Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program, the Energy Rebound Program, and the Hospitality Loss Relief Program, $512.6 million was distributed statewide to eligible businesses and nonprofits. A summary breakdown of Business Council-administered programs is provided below.
In 2021, the Business Council plans to shift from recovery relief and continue its efforts with private businesses, industries, and communities to adapt, add value to Wyoming’s core industries, activate new sectors, and increase resiliency.
“We understand the demand for additional assistance and will continue to work with state and federal stakeholders on any possible COVID-19 related economic development and relief efforts,” Dorrell added. “We will also reach out to businesses across the state to understand their challenges and determine ways to help build resilience.”