SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - As vaccine mandates take effect, people who have not gotten a COVID-19 vaccine will begin to lose their jobs, and experts say they'll have a difficult time finding a new place to work.
"They're putting themselves in a very tight situation," says Phil Blair, the founder of Manpower San Diego.
"It's going to be really hard because companies are very concerned about protecting their customers," he says. "And they're very concerned about keeping their employees healthy."
In San Diego, several major employers have instituted vaccine mandates. They include San Diego Unified School District, new hires for San Diego County, and most healthcare/hospital locations. A federal mandate says any private business with 100 or more employees must also mandate the vaccine or offer weekly testing.
Blair says that limits the job options for people who don't want the shot.
"You're hitting a wall. Right now, you can work for a company that has 100 or 99 or fewer employees. But if they're encouraging non vaccinated people to come there, you don't want to be there."
As unvaccinated people enter the workforce, several websites have emerged to help them find jobs at businesses that don't require the COVID-19 vaccine.
Andrew Crapuchettes started Redballoon.Work in August, with a mission to "connect employers who value freedom with employees who value it too."
He says, so far, about 600 companies have posted jobs on his website, and thousands of people have logged on to look.
"There are some people, myself included, who believe that you should have a conversation with your medical professional, not your HR department, about what you put in your body," says Crapuchettes.
Other job boards for people without the vaccine include NoVaxMandate.org and on the social media site Gab.com. The front page of NoVaxMandate.org says, "We believe that no right is more sacred than the right of every individual to the control of their own person, free from all restraint or interference of others. This job board is for open positions at companies who align with our values."
Crapuchettes says it's important to help people make a living. He also believes companies can benefit from this new, unvaccinated workforce.
"You have employers who are reaping the rewards of these of all these great workers who are now being released onto the labor market in a very tight labor market," he says.
But in California, jobs for non-vaccinated people are scarce.
RedBalloon only lists 35 jobs in the entire state. NoVaxMandate has just four jobs based in San Diego.
And Blair points out that, while 98% of San Diego businesses have fewer than 100 employees, they make up only 59% of the jobs. In many cases, Blair says the larger companies have more opportunities and better pay/benefits.
"It's a decision you need to make for the security and economic benefit of your family," he says of whether or not to get a vaccine if your company requires it. "But be aware, this (vaccine mandate) is the new reality, and it is not going away."
Both Blair and Crapuchettes say the best option for people looking for jobs right now is to focus on industries where you can work from home. Beyond that, they say it could be an excellent opportunity to start your own business.