Gov. Charlie Baker has announced a $773 million relief package for the state that includes money for renter's assistance, as well as funds for restaurants and small businesses. GBH Morning Edition Host Joe Mathieu spoke with Governor Baker about the new plan. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Joe Mathieu: From what I've learned so far, this is a plan with a lot of layers. A total of more than $770 million, and it includes money that you've already set aside for housing stability, renter's assistance and millions from the CARES Act that Congress passed in March. But you're also adding millions more for local small business, including restaurants and for job training. How am I doing so far?

Gov. Charlie Baker: So far, you're doing great.

Mathieu: Does this plan rely on a state budget being passed?

Baker: So there's about $100 million — maybe $140 [million] in there — that is in the House 2 budget that we submitted to the legislature a couple of weeks ago. But the rest of it is available and is part of the plan. And as you say, a big piece of this, probably $70 million, is either for straight out grants or technical assistance to small businesses. And there's another $25 [million] or $30 million there for job training, most of which is tied to programs that have already proven to be pretty successful at helping people get the skills they need to get a job that's actually available.

Mathieu: Businesses with 50 or fewer employees would get $75,000. Those with five or fewer [would get] $25,000. This could be anything to help with rent, buying PPE and so forth.

Baker: Exactly. Part of the goal here is to not only provide some businesses with a kickstart, but also to help the ones that are going to struggle as we head into the fall season, make it through it. And if it can be used for people to pay the rent or buy supplies or pay their people, whatever else it might be, that's what it needs to be used for. And I think in some respects, the biggest challenge we're all going to have here, especially if Washington can't get around to doing something, is trying to sustain the success we've had over the course of the summer when the weather was warm, people finding a way to get back to work and back to business and to help them sustain that as the weather gets colder and some of the rules of the game are going to change.

Mathieu: This package includes $171 million to help renters avoid eviction, which you had offered — we reported on this last week when the state's eviction moratorium expired. I know you said that had to happen because another extension would not hold up in court, and we don't need to have that argument all over again right now. I just wonder, Governor: are you prepared to do more if we find thousands of people out of their homes this winter?

Baker: Well, one of the things that we felt was important here was to create a process with the courts and with some of the local organizations that do diversion work. The goal here is to keep as many people as we possibly can out of the courts in the first place by using some of the community-based housing support organizations that are already there. So goal number one, we think of it as a diversion program. And that's goal number one. Goal number two is to make sure that landlords — especially small landlords; part of this is attached to trying to help small landlords too, the same way we help small businesses. But part of this is about trying to make sure that small landlords, renters and tenants have an opportunity [and] a place where they can work through some of these issues and create certainty for themselves going forward. No one knew what the number was. There's a big debate. It could be this, could be that. We kind of picked a number somewhere in the middle, and if it turns out that there needs to be more, we'll figure it out. No one wants anybody to end up out on the street.

Mathieu: We know people are worried about winter. I know, Governor, you're worried about Halloween [and] Thanksgiving. If COVID rates keep rising, if we really do see a second surge, should we be prepared for a rollback or more restrictions? More shutdowns?

Baker: Well, keep in mind two things. First, we have tons of PPE, which we didn't have last spring. We still have a fairly low hospitalization rate. At the peak, we had thousands and thousands of people who were in the hospital all at the same time. At this point in time, we probably have about 250 or 300 people who are in hospitals in Massachusetts who've been diagnosed with COVID. And back in the spring we were testing maybe 2,000 or 3,000 people a day, now we're testing 60,000 people a day. We tested 90,000 people in one day last week. We also didn't really have much of a tracing program last spring. We now have a tracing program that's connected with over 200,000 people in Massachusetts. So there's a lot of elements here to help us manage this as we work our way through this increase in cases.

The second thing I would say [is] the biggest challenge we have when it comes to dealing with COVID and spread right now is not the formal activities of daily life: going to work, going to a restaurant, going to the grocery store or going to visit a retailer. People, generally speaking, are doing the right things every single day with that stuff. They're wearing face coverings, they're socially distancing, they're paying attention to the hand sanitizer machines that are everywhere and doing the things you need to do to stay safe.

The biggest challenge we have is, people are letting their guard down when they're not in those situations. Think of some of the big events we've had that have created spread: a bunch of kids and grown ups piled into somebody's family room watching the Bruins in the playoffs. I can't tell you how many mayors will tell you that the biggest issues they've had in their communities have been attached to backyard parties, birthday parties, Labor Day weekend, Fourth of July. Work is not the thing that's creating most of our problem here. It's all the things people do when they let down their guard, when they're around a bunch of people they are familiar with and they get really familiar. It only takes one person in that group if no one's distancing, everybody's close contact [and] people aren't wearing masks — doing all the things we do when we're familiar with people. Just one person in that setting, and off it goes. Some of the biggest outbreaks we've had in the Northeast have been weddings where people don't wear masks [and] they hug. They do the things that are perfectly normal to all of us, but they do them in a big group and that's the fastest way to spread the virus.

Mathieu: What do we do when mom wants us to come over for Thanksgiving this year?

Baker: Yeah. Well, we'll have more tips on this shortly, I think. My first thought was this probably isn't a great year for a lot of people to travel. [It'd] be great if people could limit the amount of travel they do, just because traveling creates all kinds of other issues. Practically every state in the country has a travel advisory out because of concerns about the issues associated with travel generally. I think the second thing I would say is, if you can stick to the people you've been around and who you know best and then who are the people who you really do know something about where they've been and what they've been up to, that's important.

If you're a 20-something or 30-something — who are most of the people who are driving the increases in cases right now, because they're the ones doing most of the hanging around with their friends in very close quarters without any kind of focus on the issues around COVID generally — if you're one of those 20 or 30 somethings, if you go home and you just came from a big Thanksgiving Day party the day before with a whole bunch people and lots of close contact and all the rest, honestly, I think you should stay six feet away from your parents and your grandparents, and you should wear a mask and you should make them wear a mask, too. I know that sounds kind of creepy, but this intergenerational spread is a real issue and it's come up in lots of different states. And household transmission at this point is one of the largest examples of how this thing is moving around now.

Mathieu: I know, Governor, you've got money set aside here specifically for restaurants. A lot of worries about local restaurants, many of them mom and pops. They haven't been open for months in some cases, depending on the establishment, and they're relying on outdoor dining as we go into the cold weather. How worried are you about these many workers — many of them among our most vulnerable in the state?

Baker: Look, the whole issue with restaurants is incredibly challenging, and you compound this with the fact that there's just not much traffic coming into Logan Airport anymore. We used to be a global hub for conferences, life sciences and technology. We used to have giant conventions at the convention center. And so we've lost, like, this huge crew of business travelers that used to be coming through here every single day filling up restaurants, buying meals and renting rooms and all the rest. So for the restaurant industry, this is a very precarious time.

One of our goals here is to see if we can't do something to help them weather the winter. But obviously, I think in some ways this will remain an enormous challenge because of the loss of so much of the traffic that used to come through here to begin with that was business-related, conferences or other stuff like that. And the other issue, frankly, is more and more people are eating from home, which also creates issues for restaurants. So that's a sector of our economy where there are very real and very significant challenges, and they will not get easier as we head into the colder weather for the reason you spoke of. [Outdoor dining is] a lot harder to do in New England when it's 35 degrees out.

Mathieu: God knows that's true. We're going to be bringing our blankets, I guess, when we go out. Before you go away, are you of watching anything on TV tonight?

Baker: One of the things that happens when you can do all these Zoom calls is they last past when most people would think of as normal, and I have several calls I've got to work my way through. If things are still going when I get off the last call, I'll certainly turn it on. But what I really want to hear is I want to hear those guys are going to do a COVID relief package for small businesses, people who are out of work and education at the higher education at the K-12 levels. These are all things, Joe, I have to say that they've all agreed on, right? The Democrats, the Republicans...

Mathieu: But there's an election looming.

Baker: ...the Congress [and] the Senate. They've all agreed on this. And for some reason, even on things they agree on, they can't figure out a way to just move it, which I've got to tell you is hugely frustrating to somebody who's trying to figure out how to plan for the fall and plan for the winter, and provide for the people of the commonwealth.