SALEM — Nearly half of the available funds for a new $500 relief check program have been used up in the first two days of the program.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, checks had been issued to 38,700 people. The $35 million program has a maximum of 70,000 participants.

Residents must apply in person to one of the 150 participating banks and credit unions. Umpqua Bank, Columbia Bank and some members of the Northwest Credit Union Association are taking part in issuing the checks or cash.

The Legislature put out an advisory for applicants to plan ahead before visiting a participating bank or credit union.

Participating locations have reported long waits and having to turn away some people because of social-distancing protocols. Those interested should check with their local financial institution prior to visiting the locations. No payments will be issued on Saturdays or Sundays.

Limits have been placed on the number of checks that can be issued by any one branch to ensure a fair geographical spread of benefits.

For more information and to print-out an application, go to emergencychecks.oregon.gov for instructions. Residents can also call 211 to inquire about the “Emergency Relief Check Program.”

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