COVID19 guidelines

2021-07-19: BIF COVID-19 guidelines update at IST Austria and the Bioimaging Facility

The 3G rule remains the benchmark for many access and meeting regulations. Even if you have been fully vaccinated, continue to get tested and to wear a mask. While the risk of catching or of transmitting an infection is significantly lower once vaccinated it cannot be ruled out completely.  The current guidelines implemented in the Bioimaging Facility

  • Keep a physical distance >1 meter (also when working together at a system) → 1meter is more than 1 arm-length…
  • Wear (FFP2) masks
  • Disinfect common contact points and workspace before and after use (microscopy, cytometer, analysis workstation)!
  • Please provide a negative COVID-19 test before a training

Getestet/tested: valid are 

  • negative PCR-tests up to 72 hours (e.g. “Alles gurgelt”)
  • negative antigen-tests up to 48 hours from a publicly approved provider, except in night clubs negative antigen self-tests up to 24 hours recorded in a public data registration system, but not in Vienna, and not in nightclubs and similar event venues.

2021-01-19: BIF COVID-19 guidelines update

As of January 25, 2021, the wearing of  FFP2 masks during trainings or assistance is mandatory. Please take into account that you might be asked to already do so before this date.

2020-11-02: BIF COVID-19 guidelines update

Our upmost priority is to keep the Bioimaging Facility services available under the current COVID-19 situation the best we can, while also taking personal health risks into account. Available services would be significantly impacted if BIF-staff have to go into quarantine. To help prevent this happening, we will significantly reduce ‘social interactions’ of BIF-staff during training.  We will put the following measures into place:

  • Training: we will temporarily not accept any new training requests → each training consists of 2 * 2 hour sessions which means each training falls within the K1 contact-category for BIF-staff. We will seek new ways to provide training that significantly reduces the ‘social interaction time’.
  • Hygiene: disinfection procedures before and after your sessions are mandatory → BIF COVID-19 guidelines.
  • Masks: please comply with the IST Austria regulations sent out this morning → Wear masks indoors! As exceptions can only be made at your own desk,  masks need to be worn at all BIF setups at all times.
  • Social distance: only 1 person is allowed per cabinet / system →we provide a remote screenshare instead!
  • Contact BIF: please use remote contact channels only (see signature) → we will ask you to move away from the microscope if on-site assistance is required.

2020-07-28: COVID-19 guidelines update external BIF users

We ask you to keep the number of visiting scientists to a minimum. In case visiting scientists do need to make use of the bioimaigng facility services, we have the following additoinal guidelines:

  • Visitors need to make themselves aware of our COVID-19 guidelines (below) – confirmatoin needed
  • Ivisitors always need to wear a face masks in any Bioimaging Facility room or using any BIF equipment, including workstations (this is additional to the common BIF COVID-19 guidelines)
  • Visitors need to state that they were not in any country with an health-risk classification higher than class 4 for the past 2 weeks before arrival
  • Visitors can only make use of our systems if also on the day of travel/arrivals the country of origin does not exceed health-risk class 4

2020-06-15: COVID-19 guidelines update BIF

COVID-19 update: since June 15th new guidelines have been installed by both Austrian government as well as on IST Austria campus. However, the COVID-19 situation is not over yet, and BIF keeps the following guidelines in place, that remain installed until further notice (!): 

  • Keep face-masks at hand at all times when using any BIF equipment:
    • Trainings are  1-to-1 only, wearing face masks is mandatory
    • Assistance: Wearing face masks is  in case assistance in required during your session (also for trouble shooting!), else assistance will be refused.
    • 1 meter distance: Mask need to be worn when a minimal distance of 1 meter can not be kept, and/or when more than 1 person is situated at any BIF equipment
  • Add foil-wrap on the occulars when you are not wearing glasses
  • Disinfection routines after using the microscope are still mandatory
  • Distance @ workstations: please consider to leave 1 chair empty in between occupied workstations in our image analysis rooms → disinfect after use!
  • BIF support: please use the central BIF communication channels → info

Please consider when planning experiments that in case of unforeseen events, it might occur that BIF/IST needs to stop providing services abruptly

2020-05-18: COVID-19 guidelines update BIF

As of May 18, there are new rules on IST campus activities in place.  However, to ensure operation of the bioimaging Facility in unforeseen scenarios, BIF will continue to operate according to the previously installed BIF COVID-19 guidelines until the end of May 2020:

  • BIF guidelines: you need to confirm reading and understanding our BIF COVID-19 guidelines in PPMS. please also take note of them…!
  • First response on remote: please do not visit us in our offices, but make sure to use our central communication channels
  • Reduced staff availability: BIF staff works in split team: only half of the staff is present on campus + half team on the remote. This might result in some delay in on-site response to issues.
  • Analysis Workstation: the workstation can be operated directly again, but workstations will also stay available from remote → follow institute guidelines (mask distance), indicate in bookings if you will user remote (!) and carefully check bookings!
  • Trainings: BIF is slowly starting to offer ESSENTIAL trainings. Due to the reduced staff available on campus, we only have very limited resources for trainings available. We would hugely appreciate it when you could delay your training requests by 1-2- weeks.
    • We will first catch up on interrupted trainings due to shutdown (we will contact you)
    • For new trainings, we need a confirmation from your PI that the training is absolutely required.
    • Trainings are only available for PhD students and Postdocs (no visitors or interns).
  • Cytometry services: In addition, we start trainings for the Sony SH800 sorter (training request form), whereas the Aria III remains only available for the limited full services (Thursday afternoons).

2020-03-16 – Installation COVID-19 guidelines

The Bioimaging Facility hosts a vast number of equipment, that is commonly shared with over 150 active users. Consequently, this means that BIF equipment is handled by many individuals during the day. Please follow the general IST- and additional BIF guidelines when using any Bioimaging Facility services.

We have summarised the current BIF COVID-19 guidelines below. Please read them carefully, and work according the listed procedures.*


  1. When entering a room, first check if the laser-safety sign is highlighted in green. In case the light is turned to red, BIF staff is performing maintenance and entry is not allowed.
  2. BIF is performing morning checks every day between 9 and 10 a.m. no one will be allowed in the rooms → laser warning lights will be turned to red (adjust your booking accordingly!)
  3. BIF is performing monthly system checks → all systems in a room will be blocked by BIF (whole room)
  4. Do not walk in to see if a microscope is free. All the checking and booking must be done online (make sure to end your experiment within the duration of your booking, including data saving and disinfection!


  1. Firstly: always wash or disinfect your hands when entering (or when leaving) microscope rooms (dispose hand-towels in waste bins, not with S1 waste) → All microscope rooms are equipped with disinfection stations; rooms with sinks have disinfectant soap and sufficient green paper towels.
  2. Keep >1 meter distance to any other person
  3. Max. 1 person per microscope cabinet is allowed


  • Face masks: are mandatory when operating the microscope (scarfs and buff-sleeves can be used as alternative, in case no mask are available).
  • Safety goggles: eye protection is mandatory when inspecting your sample trough oculars: the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the eye (conjunctiva) is considered possible! All users are strongly encouraged to bring and wear their own safety glasses (if not glasses available -> use the provided foil wrap, available at disinfection stations)
  • Gloves are only for sample handling, and are not allowed on any common contact point -> disinfect your hands


  • Systems need to be booked at all times: for the whole duration the system is on/or sample is removed and next user starts → include sufficient time to remove your sample, save and system decontamination! Usage Policy Microscope
  • Usage trackers have installed on all systems, which require an additional log-on step – more info PPSM usage tracker
  • Always log-off from the microscope computer after your session (required for tracker / future data management)
  • Samples removal by by colleague / other user -> indicate this in your booking in PPMS as a comment in your booking system. (info booking system PPMS). The sample owner = responsible, system log-off is required!


  1. Disinfect all contact points according to the following guidelines when starting and upon completion of your experiment → see: COVID-19 BIF disinfection guideline 
  2. Remove and dispose any applied foil wrap after your experiment.
  3. In case of coughing / sneezing (in elbow!) -> disinfect the potentially contaminated area (including equipment) immediately!
  4. In case any of the items from the disinfection stations run empty: please inform us by email


All users are encouraged to bring and wear their own safety glasses: the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the eye (conjunctiva) is considered possible!→ see disinfection documentation

COVID-19 BIF FAQ (we list additional information why we put additional guidelines in place – preliminary version)

Please consider when planning experiments that in case of unforeseen events, it might occur that BIF/IST needs to stop providing services abruptly

* BIF guidelines are under continuous evaluation and will be subjected to updates as needed.

How to contact BIF → weblink