Sun City residents ask public to take coronavirus seriously, work to keep busy while self-quarantined

Sun City resident Martin Byhower said he is spending time tending to his garden and going on nature walks while practicing social distancing. (Courtesy Martin Byhower)
Sun City resident Martin Byhower said he is spending time tending to his garden and going on nature walks while practicing social distancing. (Courtesy Martin Byhower)

Sun City resident Martin Byhower said he is spending time tending to his garden and going on nature walks while practicing social distancing. (Courtesy Martin Byhower)

Martin Byhower, a resident of Sun City, has put his landscaping business on hold as concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus increase and people are asked to stay in their homes.

On March 18, four cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Williamson County. An additional four were reported March 19.

“My clients here in Sun City, we're all seniors here,” Byhower said. “Honestly, they don't want to interact with me probably, and I don't want to really have to interact with the people.”

Sun City is an active senior living community for adults ages 55 and older located on Williams Drive in the northwest corner of Georgetown and is home to more than 15,000 residents. Coronavirus experts have deemed those over the age of 65 as a vulnerable population and at higher risk. On March 13, Sun City announced it would cancel all outdoor and indoor amenities until at least April 19.

While Byhower said he is keeping himself busy doing what he enjoys most—tending to his vegetable garden, going on nature walks and looking at birds—he said Sun City has noticeably quieted.

“Everything is closed here,” Byhower said. “Any kind of activity where people interact with or congregate is shut down. So we're kind of in a lockdown.”

Resident Debbie Bruner also noted the quietness of the community, now filling her time that previously went toward eating out with friends and organizing events with the Sun City Recycles Committee with cooking new recipes.

Bruner, whose husband Terry underwent a triple bypass surgery in the fall and is now diabetic, said she is extra careful when going out and mindful of what she is exposing herself to.

“We're just taking it one day at a time and trying to keep [coronavirus] out of Sun City,” Bruner said.

Sandy Block, also a resident, has taken extreme measures to stay healthy. Block, who has an autoimmune disease, said she took her husband to the hospital for what they believed were stroke-like symptoms on March 16, but she only dropped him off and did not enter the hospital.

Block said her husband Andy remained in the hospital until March 18 when he was allowed to return home and she did not visit him throughout his hospital stay. Block said it was hard for her to not be by her husband’s side, but knew he was being well cared for.

“Had it been more critical, I would have been there with him, but I felt it was best to have him go through the diagnostics first,” she said. “I think we made decisions that were best for all of us.”

Block noted that in the recent weeks she has been more stressed and has had increased anxiety, but is working to maintain a positive attitude, adding that she has learned in her lifetime that the best of humanity comes out in situations like this.

Block said she has also turned to using technology more by using video messaging capabilities on apps like Zoom or FaceTime to keep in contact with friends and family.

“We live in a really social atmosphere [in Sun City]. That's what we came for,” Block said. “[Now], we're not able to socialize in the same ways that we did.”

Nonetheless, she asked others to be more responsible with their actions.

“I think my anxiety stems from people not taking [coronavirus] seriously,” Block said, adding people should “take [the virus] seriously and protect all of us.”
By Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.


Lingering symptoms, long-term impact of COVID-19 will take time to fully understand

Dr. Mary Katherine Theoktisto answers questions regarding the virus.

Road construction Adobe Stock
Nightly closures on I-35 mainlanes north of Georgetown planned this weekend, June 11-13

Both directions of I-35 mainlanes will be totally closed at points this weekend as the state demolishes a bridge.

The extension of Kenney Fort Boulevard is underway north of Hwy. 79. (Amy Bryant/Community Impact Newspaper)
North-south road in Round Rock makes progress; homestead exemption OK'd in Leander and more Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Candlewood Suites is located at 10811 Pecan Park Blvd., Bldg. 2, Austin. (Chris Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council votes for improved coordination with local counties on homeless issues; no action taken on Williamson County Candlewood Suites purchase before summer break

Council members unaimously approved a resolution aimed at improving collaboration on homeless strategy between Austin and local county officials June 10.

Gypsy Ice can be found at different locations in Georgetown and be requested for events. (Courtesy Gypsy Ice)
Gypsy Ice sweets trailer now open in Georgetown

Gypsy Ice offers a variety of naturally flavored shaved ice.

Amberlin Georgetown will feature resort-style amenities. (Courtesy Compass Communications)
New active adult community Amberlin Georgetown to bring 188 residential units

The active living community will provide 188 residential units for residents 55 and older

Wayne Reed has served as assistant city manager since January 2016. (Courtesy city of Georgetown)
Assistant City Manager Wayne Reed leaves Georgetown

Police Chief Wayne Nero will serve as interim assistant city manager.

The amendment will allow for an increase of residential units from 7,500 to 7,575 at 135 Sun City Boulevard. (Courtesy Hunter Pontious)
75 new residential units coming to Sun City

Georgetown City Council approved the increase on June 8.

Gov. Greg Abbott, center signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 into law June 8 in response to the devastating winter storm last February. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott signs bills to reform ERCOT and weatherize Texas power grid

The bills will go into effect Sept. 1 and aim to reform ERCOT leadership and increase accountability and communication among power agencies.

Other sections of the city charter to be considered for revision include qualifications for city employees, City Council vacancies and general power, among others. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Georgetown City Council leans toward establishing term limits

Council members agreed that if the charter amendments receive voter approval, they would take effect after Jan. 1, 2022.