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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Oct. 23-25

(J. Lauren PR & Marketing Photo)

PHOENIX – The Democratic presidential candidate called out Arizona’s Republican governor for not having a statewide mask mandate, new restaurants are coming to downtown Phoenix and downtown Chandler will host an interactive holiday display.

Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.

Biden calls out Arizona’s Ducey for not having statewide mask mandate

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called out Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday for not having a statewide mask mandate as coronavirus cases across the state and U.S. surge again.

Biden blamed Ducey’s resistance for implementing a statewide mandate for Arizona’s rise in COVID-19 cases in June and warned of the dangers of not putting one in place.

The criticism came on Friday as Arizona has reported four consecutive days of more than 900 cases. Some cities are also starting to rescind their mask orders.

New restaurant sets opening date as growth spreads in downtown Phoenix

Blanco Cocina Cantina has set an opening date of Nov. 13 to become the first restaurant to open at Block 23 on the corner of Washington and Second streets in downtown Phoenix.

After announcing its plan to open by the end of the calendar year in January, the modern Mexican restaurant has endured the coronavirus pandemic is on track fulfill its promise.

Blanco Cocina Cantina will be the fifth Blanco location in the Valley, according to a release by RED Development.

Downtown Chandler to present ‘Sugarland,’ a new holiday display

The Downtown Chandler Community Partnership, a not-for-profit organization, is celebrating the upcoming holiday season with a brand-new interactive display of decorations at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park West.

Taking place from Nov. 28 to Jan. 3, “Sugarland” is a holiday wonderland playground concept featuring life-sized candy canes, lollipops, gumdrops and cookies, according to the official website.

People can slide down a fruit roll-up slide, climb on giant marshmallows spilling out of a cup of hot chocolate or up their social media game by taking a selfie in a candy sleigh next to the iconic Tumbleweed Tree.

Tonto National Forest closing areas ahead of potential flash flooding

The Tonto National Forest implemented new closures on Saturday for areas that were impacted by the Bush Fire earlier in the year.

The newest order is intended to protect the public from potential flash flooding.

Violators could receive a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

The closure will last until March 15, 2021, or until it is rescinded at an earlier date.

Arizona reports 1,392 new coronavirus cases, 5 additional deaths

Arizona health authorities reported 1,392 new coronavirus cases and five additional deaths on Sunday morning.

That put the state’s documented totals at 238,163 COVID-19 infections and 5,874 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic have dropped dramatically from summertime peaks, but cases and hospitalizations have been trending upward this month.

The 1,392 cases Sunday is the second time in the last week that there has been more than 1,000 cases reported and is the highest total since Sept. 17.

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