HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock hosted a news conference on Thursday afternoon to announce additional funding through the Coronavirus Relief Fund and provide a testing update.
Gov. Bullock announced funding through the federal CARES Act will be used to boost in-state processing and storage capacity for local meat processors, to provide additional financial assistance for small businesses, and to reimburse local governments for COVID-19 related expenses.
The Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant is available to aid small and medium-sized meat processors responding to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions by supporting local meat processing infrastructure and capacity in Montana.
“These grants will boost processing and storage capacity. They’ll help Montana businesses put more Montana meat onto more shelves. Plus, an increase in in-state processing means more direct sales, and better, value-added markets for producers,” Gov. said. “These investments will bolster Montana’s food security, making us stronger in response to the pandemic, as well as long into the future.”
Examples of eligible expenses include equipment and infrastructure that increases processing and/or storage capacity, costs associated with becoming state or federally inspected, and other business adaptation and diversification activities. The total funding available through the program is $2 million, with a maximum award of $150,000. Applications are being accepted here. The deadline to apply is July 2, 2020 at 5 p.m.
The governor also announced an additional $25 million will be added to the Business Stabilization Program to aid small businesses in recovering from the economic impacts of COVID-19. The program, which is operated by the Department of Commerce, was initially allocated $50 million. The program has received more than 8,000 applications, with funding requests totaling more than $60 million. Click here for more information or to apply for help.
Reimbursements to local governments for COVID-19-related expenses are also available. Localities can submit requests to the Department of Administration for reimbursement for items like medical expenses, public health expenses, or employees’ regular and overtime hours substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to COVID-19.
Localities will submit requests for reimbursements by June 12, July 17, September 4, and/or December 1, 2020, and will be reimbursed within 30 days of these deadlines. Any entity will receive a maximum of four reimbursement payments.
Local governments may also be eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance grant program for costs related to emergency protective measures as a result of COVID-19, such as emergency operations center activities, training, facility disinfection, technical assistance and more.
The funding announced on Thursday through the CARES Act is part of the $1.25 billion provided to Montana from the federal government. A comprehensive information resource and application portal is available here.
Montana will begin state-wide testing this weekend of individuals who are asymptomatic for COIVD-19. The testing -- through an initiative by Gov. Steve Bullock -- is completely free to the individual and paid for by the State of Montana.
The Treasure State moved to the second phase of the "Reopening The Big Sky" plan on June 1.