No holiday tree in Capitol rotunda this year due to COVID and fire concerns

Posted at 5:56 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 13:13:01-05

HELENA — The Montana State Capitol will be a little emptier this holiday season.

The Montana Department of Administration, which manages the Capitol Complex, has decided not to place a holiday tree in the rotunda due to COVID concerns and possible fire code violations.

For the last four years, DOA has been decorating a large live tree, provided by Montana loggers, inside the Capitol. In a statement, department leaders said they decided not to do it this year out of an abundance of caution.

“Given the COVID situation, we felt that it would not be prudent to place an indoor display in the Capitol,” said spokesperson Amber Conger. “We are, however, allowing outdoor displays on a limited basis on the east side of Capitol Square.”

The department also said they recently learned that placing a live tree in the rotunda would be a violation of fire codes.

Leaders said it would be too costly to address the code issues at this time.