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A laid-off service industry worker gets a free meal at Old Thousand thanks to Hundred For Hospitality, a local fund created by influencer Jane Ko. (Jane Ko)

Welcome to Austonia, a new, locally owned news company here to report on news, business, and politics in Austin, Texas. Like what you see? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get our latest stories in your inbox.

Last month, in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, Austin Mayor Steve Adler canceled South by Southwest and ordered the closure of all restaurants and bars in the city. While generally praised for his decision, Adler essentially shut down the city's hospitality industry at a time when it usually sees its highest sales.

Since then, many restaurants have pivoted to curbside delivery and selling bulk staples. But others have laid off staff or closed permanently. Cottage industries built around the city's dining scene have also been deeply impacted.

"I'm not making income," said Jane Ko, who runs the Austin food and travel blog A Taste of Koko. "I lost all of my projects, too."

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Tinder use soared alongside other popular dating apps during the pandemic and is expected to continue to grow.

It may not come as a surprise that dating app use surged during the pandemic when many had to swap the benefits of in-person dating for on-screen connections. Bumble revenue swelled to $337.2 million in 2020 compared to $275.5 million, Hinge revenue tripled in the same period and Tinder users broke two records from January to March of 2021.

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