ST. JACOBS -- A staple of summer in Waterloo Region is now partially open for residents to enjoy while keeping precautions in mind.

The outside portion of the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market reopened on Thursday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., after months of COVID-19 closures.

“We wanted to give our farmers an opportunity to sell the produce they have ready to go,” said market manager Leanne McGray.

Several safety measures have been put in place to keep staff, vendors, and shoppers safe.

“Everybody needs to understand that it’s not the same market you would normally expect,” said McGray.

Only one entrance and exit are open and only 310 people are let in at a time.

Of the 150 vendors, only 50 have returned, and they are the only ones allowed to handle products.

“We’re just back here and they can tell us which one, they can point, and we can pick the one they want,” said Charlene Bowman, an employee at Tasha’s Farm Fresh Produce. “Everybody is happy then.”

Robert Foreman, owner of vendor 100 Mile Produce, is setting up barricades around their tent to help maintain physical distancing.

“We’re trying to have people only pay in one area, pick up their produce in one area,” he said.

Shoppers tell CTV Kitchener they’re happy to see the farmers’ market reopen with the changes and are just glad to be able to get out.

“It’s so well controlled,” one shopper said. “It’s easy to get around and they have a lot of sanitation stations. It’s great.”

McGray says they first floor of the main building at the farmers’ market will reopen to the public on Saturday after they’ve done a few more safety preparations.

She adds that they hope all vendors will be back as the season goes on.