To the editor: I was shocked to discover, as I approached a physical therapy facility north of Pittsfield, that there was a sign on the door that said masks were “optional.”

I then questioned the receptionist, expressing my astonishment that no one inside was wearing a mask, and all she kept repeating was that it is optional. I tried to educate her as to the much more contagious nature of the new omicron variant and she admitted that she didn’t follow the news.

Further discussions with the unmasked owner (outside, at a distance) were even more frustrating and alarming. When discussing the worldwide coronavirus situation and current statistics, she actually used the phrases “both sides” and “mainstream media.” Physical therapy facilities are part of our general health care system and one would expect that any health care practice that provides close contact between patient and provider would practice the safest protocols.

When I spoke with two other physical therapy offices trying to get a quick appointment, they were both quite shocked at what I had experienced. Unfortunately, disinformation and brainwashing are both alive and dangerous in the Berkshires.

Thomas Hoadley, Lanesborough