THE world hasn't stopped turning, just Melbourne's much-hyped Southern Star Observation Wheel.
As for shopkeepers and cafe operators who have bought into the adjacent Harbour Town shopping centre, it might as well have been the world.
"Oh my God!" said Shesh Kumar, the manager of the Movenpick ice-cream parlour in the wheel's shadow. He has had to lay off four of his five casual staff since the wheel stopped turning after Friday's 45-degree heat caused buckling and cracks.
"Normally we would sell 25 ice-creams in half an hour, but this morning I have had four customers. I don't even need my one staff."
Around the corner Ali Ayvaz manages the Kababbque cafe and takeaway and he claims that over the weekend his business took an 80 per cent hit after the wheel shut down.
He said he had some customers who were visitors from the Philippines who told him they had bought tickets on Friday without knowing the wheel had problems, only to come back the next day and then have to fly back home without getting a refund.
"We rely on this wheel for customers, it was why we set up businesses here. We get a two-paragraph statement from the centre management on Friday and we have no idea how long it will be closed," said Mr Ayvaz.
Meanwhile, the union involved in building the wheel, the CFMEU, has claimed the $100 million structure was beset with quality-control problems during construction and there were concerns about the structural integrity of some steel.
Fred Maybury, chairman of the owners, Southern Star Management Group, said they were not aware yet of the full extent of the problem and would have a better idea when the wheel's Japanese design engineers from the Osaka-based Neisho Corporation had examined it.
"They will be examining the structure with sonic resonance and magnetic imaging devices and we should have some idea how long it will be out of action in the next 48 hours."
Mr Maybury said the cost of repairs would be covered under the manufacturer's warranty. He also denied people were unable to get refunds on their tickets.
The state secretary of the CFMEU's structural division, Bill Oliver, said his members had told him there were 12 to 14 cracks in a section of the wheel.
Mr Maybury did not respond to the union's claims.