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Weekend wrap-up: Biggest Arizona stories over Memorial Day weekend

(Facebook Photo/Great Wolf Lodge - Scottsdale)

PHOENIX — The number of positive coronavirus cases in Arizona rose but the downward trend continued. The Arizona Department of Economic Security announced its director would step down next month and a Scottsdale water park announced its re-opening after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

In non-coronavirus news, a Scottsdale restaurant is scheduled to open this coming week. Five kids were charged in the Park Fire investigation.

Here are some stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over Memorial Day weekend.

Coronavirus deaths reach 800 in Arizona, 300 new cases

Arizona’s coronavirus death toll has now reached 800.

The state health department reported 300 new coronavirus cases Sunday morning and one additional death.

The total number of cases statewide has reached 16,339.

More than 6,800 combined tests for active COVID-19 infections (PCR testing) and antibodies (serology testing) were added to the total on Sunday, as 260,660 tests have now been given in Arizona.

Great Wolf Lodge in Scottsdale to reopen after closing due to coronavirus

Great Wolf Lodge in Scottsdale is turning the water on again after closing due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Arizona’s first indoor water park, located in the Talking Stick Entertainment District near Loop 101 and Via de Ventura, will reopen on June 9.

The 350-room resort released a plan on its website to operate during the pandemic, including social distancing guidance and enhanced sanitization protocols.

These procedures will initially reduce the occupancy at the resort to 50% or less, place floor markers to separate people in line for attractions, frequently sanitize arcade games and install plexiglass barriers where social distancing may be a challenge.

5 kids charged after starting Park Fire in Yavapai County

Five kids have been charged for starting the Park Fire, which burned 65 acres in Yavapai County on Friday before hotshot crews were able to control the blaze.

The kids, ranging in ages from 11 to 15, were all seen running from the fire by witnesses. Following an investigation, it was determined that the group was smoking despite a fire ban on the area.

All five face charges of reckless burning while the 15-year-old suspect was also charged with tampering with a witness, a felony.

North Scottsdale welcoming new restaurant Teriyaki Madness

As Arizona businesses continue to adapt within the constraints of the coronavirus outbreak, one entrepreneur is ready to call north Scottsdale home for his new restaurant.

Dominic Do is set to open Scottsdale’s first Teriyaki Madness on Wednesday with raffles and discounted menu options available through Friday, according to a press release.

Located on 14884 North Pima Road, the national chain’s new location will specialize in a variety of teriyaki bowls along with rice and noodle options.

Teriyaki Madness currently has locations in Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa with another expected to open in Tolleson.

Arizona DES Director Tom Betlach to step down June 3

The Arizona Department of Economic Security announced that Director Tom Betlach will be stepping down from his role on June 3.

Betlach had originally come out of retirement to take the position back in March for 75 days.

“From the beginning, Tom Betlach’s service was for the term of 75 days and he will be returning to private life after that,” DES told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“[The Arizona Department of Economic Security] and the Governor’s Office are thankful that Mr. Betlach agreed to serve for 75 days and are appreciative of the work he has done for Arizona.”

The announcement comes after Gov. Doug Ducey said at a press conference earlier this week that if Betlach wanted to remain in the position longer than the 75 days, he could. Betlach was not in attendance.

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