TORONTO -- Premier Doug Ford has added the Easter Bunny to the province’s list of essential workers following pressure from Mayor John Tory.

Ford issued a formal declaration on Tuesday afternoon confirming that the Easter Bunny “is an essential service provider and will be authorized to deliver Easter chocolate, candy and related treats to the children of Ontario.”

The order, however, prohibits the Easter Bunny from delivering treats in “parks, playgrounds and all other outdoor recreational amenities.

“I know it is tough for the younger kids to explain what is going on right now and the kids have simple things they are worried about like the Easter Bunny,” Ford said during a news conference at Queen’s Park. “So kids, the Easter Bunny has become an essential service and he will make sure they have chocolates ready for Easter.”

Ford’s declaration came on the heels of Toronto Mayor John Tory indicating that he planned to raise the issue with him.

Tory made the comment in an interview with CP24 on Tuesday morning; one day after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern added both the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy to her country’s list of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario’s list of essential workers currently includes first responders and healthcare personnel as well as employees at food s services establishments like restaurants that do takeout and grocery stores, but the Easter Bunny was conspicuously absent, despite the fact that they regularly deliver food, such as chocolate eggs.

“I think the designation of essential workers has to be done by the premier but I will speak to him first thing this morning because this is a very urgent situation,” Tory said. “I will see if I can put in a good word on word on behalf of the Easter Bunny as far as Ontario is concerned because I am sure the premier will want to make sure that is done.”

New Zealand has been under a lockdown since March 25 but Ardern provided some relief to families on Monday when she added the Easter Bunny to a list of essential workers, while warning that they will be “be potentially quite busy at home with their family as well and their own bunnies” and may not be able to make it to every household.

Tory, however, expressed no such concerns for Toronto and said that he still expects the Easter Bunny to be able to complete all of his usual duties, despite the pandemic.

“I think it is important for kids to know that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are going to come. You don’t have to go to them,” he said.

Residents urged to avoid family gatherings

Tory has previously warned residents to make sure that they avoid holding traditional family gatherings for both Easter and Passover this year due to the risk of spreading COVID-19.

He has also advised people to avoid shopping the day before both holidays in order to ensure that physical distancing can be maintained inside and outside of grocery stores.

“If you are across the city from your grandmother and you would normally spend Passover Seder with her on Wednesday or Easter dinner with her on Sunday you can’t this year. Sorry but we are just not encouraging people to mix up with one another because that again is how the virus is spread,” he told CP24 on Tuesday. “So please celebrate in your own home and find ways to do that and hopefully next year we will back to normal.”