By Joe Vazquez

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – As businesses slowly begin to reopen, officials are asking two major questions: how can we afford to open up when the virus is still just as dangerous and how can we afford not to?

The Bay Area has received international acclaim for shutting down early, flattening the curve. But Teague Kernan, owner of Tupelo in North Beach, wonders if we will become victims of our own success, given that so many other parts of the country are reopening more quickly.

“San Francisco took the most cautious approach relative to almost anywhere else and I’m really proud of the city for doing that,” Kernan said. “I imagine we will probably be one of the last places to reopen.”

The tension between saving lives and livelihoods is evident in the way different counties have issued varying health orders.

Santa Clara now says its reopening plans will begin Friday. Contra Costa’s will start Tuesday. San Mateo County is no longer issuing joint health orders with other Bay Area Counties.

One thing they all have in common is the possibility of a spike, meaning many COVID-19 cases happening at once.

Dr. John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert at UC Berkeley, said policy makers and public health officials are pushing for the right balance as reopening escalates.

“On the positive side, it’s getting people back to work,” Swartzberg said. “The downside is it’s going to put more people at risk for getting infected. It’s a very delicate balance and I hope we get it right everywhere.”