What is the CARES Act?
The CARES Act, or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, is the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 116th U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump in March 2020 in response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. It addresses economic impacts of, and otherwise responds to, the COVID-19 outbreak. Read the text of the CARES Act here.
Wyoming received $1.25 billion in CARES Act funding to respond to the effects of the outbreak. Per legislation passed in the 2020 Special Session, the Governor’s ability to spend the $1.25B in CARES Act money was split into three disbursements by the Legislature. The first, amounting to $450M, was available for allocation on May 25. The second, amounting to $400M, was available for allocation on July 15. The third, amounting to another $400M, was made eligible for allocation per legislation on September 15.
Per legislation passed in the 2020 Special Session, $325M was allotted to help small business across the state in the form of three business relief programs. Business Relief Program 1 provided $50M for businesses with less than 50 employees to access up to $50,000 in relief grants. Due to unprecedented demand, Governor Gordon used his flex authority to shift an additional $50M to this program to best serve Wyoming small businesses. Business Relief Program 2 makes $175M available for businesses with less than 100 employees to access up to $300,000 in relief grants; Business Relief Program 3 makes $50 available for business to reimburse COVID-related expenses like PPE, cleaning supplies, and equipment. The maximum grant under this program is $500,000. Additionally, monies designated for economic and business relief helped provide PPE for businesses and support for remote workers.
To apply for funds within the open business relief programs, please visit the Wyoming Business Council's COVID-19 Business Relief Program page.
To view the list of businesses who received CARES Act business relief grants, visit WY Open's Wyoming Business Relief Program Information page.
To help support the challenges faced by K-12 and higher education, CARES Act funding has provided much-needed assistance for the following. Additional needs will be identified throughout 2020.
Testing and Contact Tracing
The population of Wyoming may be just under 550,000, but the need for a robust and responsive testing system remains a top priority. CARES Act funds will help provide for testing supplies, tests, and contact tracing throughout all areas of the state.
To learn more about testing protocols and contact tracing, visit the Wyoming Department of Health.
To download the Care19 Diary app for iOS, visit the App Store.
To download the Care19 Diary app for Android, visit Google Play.
Broadband and Communications Infrastructure
Through CARES Act funding, Governor Gordon launched a broadband initiative—ConnectWyoming—to serve rural Wyoming and ensure access to telehealth, the ability to telework, and access to distance education. Both unserved and underserved areas are targeted by the initiative.
To learn more about ConnectWyoming, visit the Wyoming Business Council's ConnectWyoming information page.
Unemployment and Workers' Compensation
The funding for the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund will stabilize the fund to be able to best meet future needs. The Workers’ Compensation funding provided a one-month premium credit to qualified employers in good standing with the Workers’ Compensation program. For example, $750,000 was awarded to Department of Workforce Services (DWS) to supplement DWS' current internship program through the Wyoming Development Training Fund (WDTF). This program will allow applicants to propose innovative ways to offer an internship program to support COVID-19 relief efforts.
Health Care System Fortification
CARES Act funding will assist with the purchase of PPE, HVAC, negative pressure rooms, mobile clinics, lab equipment and supplies, ventilators, and UV sanitation robots.
Local Governments: Response and Preparedness
CARES Act funding for local governments in Wyoming supports a wide range of services, including mental health and substance abuse evaluations, county public health nursing staffing, and marketing campaigns.
Eviction Prevention and Support
Per legislation passed in the 2020 Special Session, $15M was devoted to the Wyoming Community Development Authority to help prevent evictions for Wyomingites affected by COVID-19.
To learn more about the program, visit Wyoming Community Development Authority.
State Agencies' COVID Response
CARES Act funding for state agencies supports PPE and sanitation measures, telework, and an employee assistance program for mental health needs.
Judicial Branch and Legislative Branch
PPE for the Judicial Branch, support for remote hearings, and trial laptops were provided with CARES Act dollars.