Writing on her Facebook page at around midday on Saturday, Frederiksen said that she had failed to take into account the new restrictions that came into force on Monday.
“Yesterday, I forgot to wear a face mask when I was in a shop in central Copenhagen,” she wrote. “It was simply an oversight after the new rules were introduced, and I only became aware of it after a citizen filmed it.”
“I know this can happen to all of us. Just preferably not to me,” she continued. “I’m sorry, of course, and once again want to thank everyone for everything we all do to keep the infection down.”
Frederiksen made her post after the Ekstra Bladet newspaper published a video of her trying on clothes in the shop without a mask on.
Since Monday, it has been mandatory to wear a mask in shops under new tougher restrictions brought in to reduce the current high rate of infections in Denmark.
This is not the first time a senior figure in Denmark’s fight against the pandemic has been caught not following restrictions.
In October last year, Søren Brostrøm, Director of the Danish Health Agency, failed to wipe down and disinfect a machine he had used at a fitness centre.
He was just one month later photographed working on a train without a face mask.
Under the new restrictions, those refusing to wear a face mask in a shop can face a fine of up to 2,500 Danish kroner. In the first instance, however, it is the responsibility of shop personnel to remind customers to wear a mask.
The incident heaps more pressure on the prime minister, who faces a parliamentary committee later this week investigating her decision to cull more than 15 million mink last year over fears of a mutated Covid strain.
The order was found to have no legal basis and led to a minister’s resignation. The committee is now investigating if Frederiksen knew there was no law allowing her to impose the measure.
The Danish parliament finally passed an emergency law banning mink farming, devastating a lucrative industry.
Denmark had been the world’s largest exporter of mink skins bred for their delicate fur, and the second largest producer after China.