WORCESTER, Mass. - Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito toured small businesses in downtown Worcester on Tuesday as part of her initiative to visit the state's Gateway Cities. 

Polito made two stops in Worcester including at Maker to Main, a market featuring locally crafted foods and supplies, and East Asian dining restaurant Chashu Ramen + Izakaya.

Polito says she has already toured 20 communities, looking into the recovery of small businesses almost 20 months into the coronavirus pandemic. 

She noted the state's investments in Worcester, and says it's paying off.

"Especially with bringing more residents to live in the downtown. We put a lot of money into housing and improving the sidewalks and the beautification of the downtown area,” Lt. Gov. Polito said.. And one of the things (Maker to Main owner Lynn Cheney) said is that she's open seven days a week and that's because not only people working downtown, but more so because people are living downtown."

"We know (small businesses are) the backbone of our economy and they're the source of job growth for the Commonwealth,” City Manager Ed Augustus said. “So today is a great day to show off some of our great small businesses in downtown Worcester."

City leaders and local business owners joined Polito for a roundtable discussion.  Polito says making sure downtowns in all of the state's cities and towns are both important for the economy and for residents' quality of life.