If you dine indoors at a restaurant in suburban Cook County, you will have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before you are allowed inside to eat starting Jan. 3.

However, because Evanston has its own health department, Evanston officials will have to decide on their own if any similar regulations will be adopted here.

That is also true for Skokie.

In a Thursday morning presentation, Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, said “what we see right now is Omicron overwhelming us,” a reference to the current strain of COVID blamed for much of the recent increase in positive virus cases.

Dr. Kiran Josh, of the County Health Department, said that Omicron is in addition to more cases of the Delta variant, creating a “surge upon a surge.”

The Cook County proof-of-vaccination rules are the same as those announced earlier this week for the City of Chicago, and cover gyms and fitness centers, as well as places where food or alcohol are consumed on the premises.

Proof of vaccination is not required for a brief stop to pick up food to go.

Despite the additional responsibilities on businesses to check vaccination records, Preckwinkle said “in the midst of a health care crisis, everyone has to roll with it.”

As for what Evanston will do, City Hall spokesperson Patrick Deignan told Evanston Now that the City is reviewing the County’s order and will decide next week “as to whether this would be a necessary and effective mitigation measure in Evanston.”

For now, Deignan said the City is “encouraging Evanston businesses” to require patrons to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID test result from the previous 24 hours.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.