ENTERPRISE — It could be up to another 90 days before federal money earmarked to help Wallowa County businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic actually reaches those businesses, a Wallowa County commissioner said Thursday, Dec. 31.

Commissioner Susan Roberts said the $563,232 in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds the county received through the state was approved for disbursement Dec. 28, but the county has another 90 days after then to actually disburse the checks.

“It could be up to 90 days before anybody sees any money,” she said.

The commissioners were required to have paperwork about the disbursement submitted by Tuesday, Jan. 5. But they still have to confirm the applicants’ information is accurate, she said.

The CARES Act funds are to help local businesses recoup expenditures that occurred from March 1 to Dec. 30, largely due to gubernatorial executive orders that forced shutdowns or limits on business operations during that time.

Businesses could claim a percentage loss or compare a month during 2020 to a similar month in 2019 to show a loss, according to the application.

Roberts said the commissioners may not have to wait the entire 90 days and will cut the checks sooner if they’re able to get all the work involved complete. In the meantime, she said, it wouldn’t be fair to list who is and who is not receiving a check in case someone’s application information turns out to be inaccurate.

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