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Worcester Restaurant Turns Parking Lot Into Patio Area Ahead of Reopening

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David Niddrie is anxious to get some bolognese from Piccolo's in Worcester, Massachusetts. The restaurant has been shut down since March. 

"As soon as we get the go ahead, we're gonna make our reservations," said Niddrie.

Owner John Piccolo is transforming his parking lot into a patio dining area in anticipation of a Monday reopening.

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"We're probably going to have 65-70 seats in the back and probably another 25 or 30 around the building," said Piccolo.

He's invested more than $5,000 for tables and chairs,  flowers, umbrellas and paving work, but feels lucky to have such a big space to work with.

"We're ready to go, hoping it will go smooth," said Piccolo. "I'm confident that the next week will bring in some money and we'll be up and running."

Other restaurants across the city are cleaning up their outdoor areas and submitting the paperwork needed for outdoor dining. The city license commission will be working overtime to process all the applications from restaurants that want to reopen next week with outdoor seating.

"We've really worked hard to get that application out to continue to get the message out to file an application for an extension of premises, which means they could use parking lots, or if they are in an area on a private way they can use that as well," said Worcester City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson.

Tim Murray, the head of Worcester's Regional Chamber of Commerce, says this  reopening is an important step, but he knows the city's struggling restaurant owners have a long road ahead of them on the way to recovery.

"The idea that they have a date certain and can begin the process of opening is a ray of hope, but I think most people understand that there are challenges ahead in how to navigate in this new environment, and we're going to do everything we can to assist them in doing that," said Murray.

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