Clap for Carers should stop next week before its message becomes “negative”, the architect of the gesture has suggested.
Annemarie Plas, a Dutch national living in South London, said the weekly applause for front-line workers has “had its moment” and should end next Thursday after its 10th week.
The 36-year-old said the public “had shown our appreciation” but now it is up to ministers to “reward” key workers.
Ms Plas said: “I think it is good to have the last of the series next Thursday, because to have the most impact I think it is good to stop at its peak. Without getting too political, I share some of the opinions that some people have about it becoming politicised.”
“I think the narrative is starting to change and I do not want the clap to be negative.”
The campaign, which began at the start of the lockdown, gained traction after Ms Plas' Instagram post urging people to “clap for carers” went viral on social media.
It originally began as a one-off show of support to NHS staff on 26 March, but was quickly expanded to cover all key workers.
The ritual has since become a regular fixture of national life, with millions of Britons showing their support every Thursday at 8pm from their balconies, doorsteps and gardens.
But, the national event has led to questions over whether frontline staff would benefit more from extra funding .
Particular criticism has been voiced over the Government's initial decision, later reversed, to charge overseas health and care staff for using the NHS.
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour Leader, has said key workers have been “overlooked and underpaid” and there will have to be a “reckoning” once the pandemic is over.
Ms Plas, a yoga teacher, who was inspired by similar events in the Netherlands, has suggested resurrecting the clap in 2021 to mark a year since the coronavirus outbreak.
She added: “A clap is something normal people can do, showing our appreciation. But the power is not with us. We can give them respect but we are not signing the cheque- that falls on another desk.”
“Stopping clapping does not mean we are not still appreciating them. Some people will still want to carry on, so they should.” “But we will stop and show our support in other ways- there are other initiatives we can support.”