Empty tables awaiting diners at Smylie Bros. on Oak Avenue.

Restaurants in Evanston and the rest of suburban Cook County should be able to start offering limited indoor seating today as relaxed COVID-19 restrictions go into effect.

The Tier 1 rules limit indoor service to the lesser of 25 guests of 25% or room capacity. In addition reservations are required for each party and parties are limited to four people, with dining only with members of the same household recommended.

A check of several local restaurant websites this morning turned up two — Trattoria Demi on Sherman Avenue and Trattoria D.O.C on Main Street — that are accepting reservations for indoor dining today. But others hadn’t announced a return to indoor dining yet, including Smylie Bros., Prairie Moon and La Principal.

The return to Tier 1 restrictions is premised on having the 7-day positive case rate under 8% for at least three consecutive days, intensive care hospital bed availability greater than 20% and a decreasing or stable number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 for at least 10 days.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced the switch to Tier 1 rules for suburban Cook County and the City of Chicago this morning. But it cautioned that if data shows regions trending in the wrong direction in the future, tighter restrictions could be re-imposed.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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