Fact Check-Sainsbury’s supermarkets are not installing COVID-19 passport technology

British supermarket Sainsbury’s says it has no plans to introduce COVID-19 pass policies in any of its stores, despite a widely shared video claiming otherwise online.

The clip, seen here, shows a man walking to the entrance of one of Sainsbury’s London stores, where he is greeted by two workers who tell him the shop is “only open for staff at the moment”.

He asks: “So what’s this QR code about?” to which one of the staff members replies: “We’re not allowed to share at the moment.” The man asks: “For coronavirus? COVID pass?” before adding: “Yeah this is what it is, Sainsbury’s. Look at that, Sainsbury’s preparing for COVID passes, disgusting.”

He once again asks one of the workers what the QR code scanners at the entrance of the store are for. They reply: “We’re trying the new technology,” before he interrupts, saying: “Yes, COVID technology. Disgusting.”

The video’s accompanying tweet reads: “Sainsburys ‘testing’ a new QR entry system in East London. Discriminatory digitals IDs will be introduced without your consent, no referendum or vote. Next is CBDCs for financial enslavement. Welcome to COVID-1984 apartheid. Rise up against it!”

Other versions of the video can be found here, here and here.

However, a spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s told Reuters in an email that “the claim made in the video is simply not true”.

She said: “We are trialling an upgraded version of our SmartShop experience with colleagues at one of our Holborn stores, which could offer another convenient way for customers to shop with us.

“Testing is only available to colleagues at the moment.”

The SmartShop experience, according to the Sainsbury’s website, is an “in-store shopping app trial that let’s you scan as you go”.

It plans to allow customers to skip queuing to pay at a till; rather, payment will be instant when heading to a special checkout.

More information on the SmartShop experience can be found here.

The Sainsbury’s spokeswoman also confirmed to Reuters that the company has “no plans” to introduce a ‘No QR code, no service’ policy in any of its branches nationwide.

Another version of the video has been shared here, with the user claiming it was evidence of “outright segregation and medical apartheid”, as well as proof that the supermarket was implementing a “No QR Code = No service” policy.

However, the person who tweeted later acknowledged that they “may have shared this without fully checking”. Nonetheless, they had not deleted the original tweet at the time of writing.


False. The video shows a trial for Sainsbury’s SmartShop experience. It has nothing to do with COVID-19 passes.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.