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It seems like a simple question: When will movie theaters reopen in Austin and elsewhere, and when will we be able to see the traditional summer blockbusters?

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Nearly 50 Austin musicians got together through the nonprofit All ATX to create the release of "Someday We'll Be together," a take on The Supremes song by Robert Harrison and Suzanna Choffel.
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The Statesman layoffs were a part of layoffs across Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper chain, which also owns 260 other newspapers in 46 states. (Michael Barera)

(Editor's Note: Oppel is editorial advisor to Austonia.com. From 1995-2008, he was editor and vice president of the Austin American-Statesman.)

Veteran sportswriter Suzanne Halliburton and culture critic Joe Gross were among seven staffers laid off on Friday by the Austin American-Statesman. The layoffs come at a time when most Statesman employees are on unpaid furloughs one week each month.

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Jane Ko

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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"When the SBA Paycheck Protection Program was announced, we jumped on it," Elizabeth Christian said.

With billions of dollars in forgivable loans available from the Small Business Administration, Elizabeth Christian, CEO of the well-known Austin public relations firm, took action immediately.

She got a loan in five days.

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Courtesy Robert Bryce

Robert Bryce's "A Question of Power" was published in March. (Courtesy Robert Bryce)

Austin author Robert Bryce has just come out with a new book, and it received a strong review from Wall Street Journal "Bookshelf" editor Gregg Easterbrook. The editor called "A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations" a "smart, important book."

I asked Bryce, who is a former writer for the Austin Chronicle, to answer three questions:

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